Transitioning to the Real World

Speech-Language Pathologists can boost job success for young adults with autism.

Study findings released in the journal Pediatrics showed one in three young adults with autism have no paid job experience, college, or technical schooling nearly seven years after high school graduation. With roughly half a million kids with autism reaching adulthood in the next decade, now is the time to ask what can be done to improve their odds of success. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can play a unique and valuable role in building communication skills these individuals will need to join the work world.

Difficulties with spoken and written language constitute a core challenge for individuals with autism. Communication deficits have a direct and significant impact on an individual's ability to acquire the social as well as vocational skills needed to obtain and keep a job. SLPs can use video modeling, conversation groups, and electronic media to help their clients with autism develop employment skills such as interviewing, understand and respond to social cues, and build literacy and technology capabilities.

Meanwhile, adults with autism and their employers also benefit from the work of SLPs, who can assist with on-the-job training and help human resources staff understand employees' unique needs and create structures and accommodations that foster success.

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