While the employment rate for adults with autism has increased, it still falls significantly below that of the general population. Stigma and lack of knowledge on the part of employers often lead them to overlook this largely untapped talent pool. Professionals working in career development can help move the needle by being more informed about autism, accommodations and resources available to employers as well as students and jobseekers on the autism spectrum.
These resources and organizations offer a snapshot of supports related to employment and education for people with autism in Canada. Have a resource you want to share? Comment below or email email@example.com, and it may be added to this article or included in a future one.
CERIC and CASE will be hosting a three-part webinar series on “The CDP’s Roadmap to Effectively Supporting Neurodiverse Clients,” starting May 3. The series will be presented by Sarah Taylor, Principal Consultant of Next Level ASD.
A Facebook group for adults on the autism spectrum, by Autism Canada. A place to ask questions and get advice, it is not specific to employment but could still be a helpful resources for clients navigating work or education decisions.
Autism Alliance of Canada
The Autism Alliance of Canada facilitates dialogue, advances research, and works with governments to develop and implement a National Autism Strategy. It hosts the annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit; partners with Inclusion Canada to deliver the Ready, Willing and Able national employment initiative; a Language Guide; and an Autism Employment Scan – an environmental scan of government programs that support autistic people living in Canada with employment.
Autism and Neurodiversity in the Workplace (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism)
This free program includes a series of six self-paced, interactive modules filled with useful activities and videos. The program is designed to assist human resource professionals, employers, supervisors, managers, co-workers, job coaches and counsellors, autistic employees, parents, students and anyone interested in inclusive employment to learn practical strategies on how to support all employees to be successful on the job.
Autism Job Club
Autism Job Club is a network of individuals, families, volunteers and service providers that aims to help people with autism achieve their goals. It offers technical support with skills development in setting goals, creating resumes, practicing interview skills, targeting jobs, connecting with service providers and more, delivered through group training and one-on-one mentoring.
Among its various programs and resources, Autism Ontario offers webinars on a variety of topics, such as “Disclosure, Job Searching & Being Social At Work” and “Employment Readiness,” which may be valuable to individuals with autism, their families or career professionals.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Job Readiness Project (JVS Toronto)
This program is designed for individuals with ASD between the ages of 18 and 30 years old looking for support in preparing for, obtaining and retaining employment.
The programs includes:
- 8-week workshop series to develop job readiness skills
- Workshop topics include workplace communication, employer interactions, workplace behaviour, and self advocacy
- Weekly one-on-one sessions to set and achieve goals
- Paid work placement for up to 14 weeks
- On-the-job coaching and support
- Job retention workshops
Embracing neurodiversity at work: How Canadians with autism can help employers close the talent gap (Deloitte)
This report highlights the barriers to employment faced by the autistic community, as well as the opportunities for employers to successfully hire, onboard and support staff with autism.
Geneva Centre for Autism
Resources for people with autism of all ages. For instance, its Employment Consultation program aims to provide youth and adults with the skills required to prepare, obtain, and maintain employment.
Navigating Work (Dori Zener & Associates)
Navigating Work is a group for neurodivergent jobseekers across Ontario looking to get ahead in the workforce. The group aims to help participants harness their skills and talents to create a resume and LinkedIn profile to attract employers. Participants will learn how to present their neurodiversity as a workplace advantage and become skilled at advocating for on-the-job accommodations.
Specialisterne Canada supports employers to tap into the talents of a neurodiverse workforce and to build inclusive organizations. Jobseekers have the opportunity to join its talent pool, and the organization supports businesses to face barriers that prevent them from successfully employing people within this population. It publishes a regular blog on topics such as “Supporting Neurodivergent Employees in Job Crafting” and “What Is ‘Masking’, and Why Do Your Autistic Employees Do It?“
ConnectAbility – Transition Planning Milestones for Youth with Autism
Transitioning to adulthood is a process requiring advanced planning and preparation. This tip sheet highlights questions and pathways to consider for students with autism at milestone decision-making ages (Grade 8, Grades 9 and 10, age 16 and 18+), as well as resources and advice at each stage.
Spectrum Works Job Fair for Autistic Job Seekers
In its National Virtual Event, the Spectrum Works Job Fair aims to break the stigmas associated with autistic job seekers contributing to the workforce. The 2023 event will be hosted online April 14.
The Social Tree Foundation
This Montreal-based organization works to increase the quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum throughout their lifespan. Its “Untapped Talent” virtual program is provides guidance around the different career paths for individuals on the autism spectrum. Through its Career Centre, the Social Tree Foundation offers employer training, individual accompaniment, workshops and more.
Three mistakes career professionals make when supporting clients with autism (CareerWise)
The Center for Disease Control (2016) reports that one child in 68 has autism, which makes ASD the number one neurological disorder diagnosed in North America today – without accounting for the thousands of people being diagnosed as adults. Developing the competencies necessary to serve this gifted but highly barriered population is a critical skill for employment professionals. Sarah Taylor, Principal Consultant at Next Level ASD Consulting, outlines three major mistakes made by career development professionals when they support individuals who live on the spectrum.
Transition Resource Guide for Students with Disabilities – Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This guide identifies common concerns and struggles for individuals on the autism spectrum, potential accommodations that may be available to students in a post-secondary environment, support organizations and resources.
Worktopia is a national employment network with a shared goal to change the odds of employment success for people with autism. It has resources for employers and families including an Employer Resource Quick Guide and Worktopia Parent Guide.
- Assisting adults with autism to transition from post-secondary into the workplace (Careering magazine)
- Canada needs workers — so why aren’t more companies hiring the neurodivergent? (CBC)
- Career Planning for People on the Autism Spectrum (Autism Spectrum News)
- Considering Community Service: Career Development for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ThinkWork!)
- Fork theory: A multi-pronged approach to support neurodivergent networking (CareerWise)
- In hiring people with autism, focus on interview process (HRReporter)
- Talking to employers and colleagues about neurodiversity (CareerWise)
- Transitioning into Adulthood (Autism Awareness Centre Inc.)
- 86% of adults with autism are unemployed. This job fair aims to change that (CBC)
- Disability in demand: People with autism offer employers a broader talent pool (CBC)
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