As we transition from winter into spring, we are reminded of other transitions as well. One of the biggest and most exciting transitions to take place in the next several months is graduation! Some students may be graduating from high school and going on for post-secondary training, but others may be entering the job market at this time. Still others may be completing their college or post-secondary training and will be looking for employment.
Graduation can be a joyous time when the dreams for our futures become more of a reality. Whether we sailed through our program of study, or succeeded by just the skin of our teeth, we realize that now we are ready to embark on the next step of our journey, the one that involves employment. Looking for employment can bring on a mixture of thoughts and emotions including anticipation, excitement, anxiety, or dread. It is perfectly normal to be a bit uneasy, because we don’t know what might happen as we move forward. But for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the thought of employment can be downright distressing or unnerving. Let’s look at why this may be so.
Social skills deficits are common among individuals with ASD and can be a cause of great anxiety. Many individuals with ASD have difficulty successfully managing job interviews due to interactions with strangers and people in authority. Interviewing for a job can be a stressful experience for anyone looking for employment, but if job applicants have social difficulties associated with ASD, the experience could be paralyzing. Anxiety of this kind may cause applicants to be unable to think on the spot, and ultimately be unable to respond in ways that effectively communicate their knowledge and experience. However, when given very specific examples of how to better present themselves and interact with others in an interviewing situation, individuals with ASD may become more competent in altering their social interactions in employment settings.
Accommodations for the interviewing process can be helpful in assisting job applicants with ASD remain calm and more positively represent themselves and their abilities. For more information on those specific accommodations and tips to help applicants with ASD in interview situations, read our Consultants’ Corner: Interviewing Tips for Applicants with ASD.
Once individuals with ASD are thoroughly prepared for a job interview, they will be able to perform to the best of their ability. Then all they need to do is relax, smile, and most importantly, be themselves! Congratulations to the graduates, and best wishes in the interviewing process.
For accommodation ideas on the job, see JAN's A to Z.