How People With Autism Can Find Training And Jobs – Forbes

A graduate of the Els for Autism Foundation’s Work Experience Program, in action at his employment site

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and it’s also a time of transition. Students and recent graduates, including neurodiverse teenagers, begin to seek places in the professional world. In the U.S., one in 54 children are affected by autism spectrum disorder. Marlene Sotelo, the Chief Operating Officer at the Els for Autism Foundation, and Michael Alessandri, Clinical Professor and Executive Director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, share their view of job education and training for young adults on the spectrum.

Julia Brodsky: What are some of the biggest challenges people with autism face when they are looking for employment and training?

Marlene Sotelo: One of the biggest challenges is competing for limited opportunities with the neurotypical population that has also been out of work. Another challenge is that large industries still lack experience in supporting employees on the spectrum. However, with Microsoft, SAP, Dell, Ernst and Young, and others creating disability employment initiatives, I hope we can get big industry on board. It is heartwarming to see some compassionate small companies, including mom and pop shops, such as Oceana Coffee Roasters we work with, moving in this direction, too.

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