Adults with ASD
As we know, ASD is not simply a childhood disorder. Infants grow into children, children grow into adolescents, and adolescents grow into adults. For the adult with ASD, finding one's way through college, engaging in meaningful work, and living independently in the community all may prove difficult.
We know that upon graduation from the public school system, many adults with ASD are left in limbo. Different services and supports are needed as they try to find a new routine in new environments, new homes, and new situations. The world of ASD and adulthood is changing though. Where before the only options focused on sheltered workshops and group homes, now we are seeing more and more employment and living opportunities for the adult with ASD. In fact, some of the work being done here at VCU-ACE and at the VCU-Research and Rehabilitation Training Center (VCU-RRTC) is helping to facilitate such meaningful employment opportunities.
In this section of the website, you will find information about transitioning from the school system, transitioning into college or work, facilitating independence, and finding appropriate support.
The VCU Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC) is a national center of excellence providing support for professionals, individuals with disabilities, and their representatives. VCU-RRTC hosts several research projects focusing on supported employment and workplace supports and offers web-based training on a variety of relative topics.
Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism is a consortium of organizations with the goal of increasing both private and public support specifically for adults with ASD. AFAA's website has more information about their goals, resources and news, as well as links to an active Facebook page.
Autism After 16 is a website for individuals with ASD and the families and professionals who support them. It includes extensive information about transition, postsecondary life, employment, housing, finance, health, and more.
Autism Speaks highlights stories about employees with ASD and testimonials from their employers in their Autism in the Workplace section.
The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a nonprofit organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN is advancing the disability rights movement for those with ASD. The organization organizes local chapters, resources, and several projects, including Autism Campus Inclusion and the Autistic Leaders Project.
The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services provides support for the employment, independence, and housing needs of individuals with ASD.
The Arc of Virginia advocates for individuals with disabilities and helps promote disability related legislation and policy. The Arc has several local chapters and ongoing community projects.
Guides and Factsheets
The Virginia Department of Education has written a Resource Document (revised May 2012) on the Transfer of Rights for Students with Disabilities upon Reaching the Age of Majority in Virginia.
The OCALI Customized Employment Guide provides strategies, links, and resources for those beginning to seek customized employment.
Autism Speaks has developed an Employment Tool Kit to help you research, find, and keep employment in the current, competitive labor market. Stories, tips and resources were developed from a collaboration of people, including adults with autism, dedicated to increasing the employment participation of adults on the spectrum.
Videos and Training
This PBS Newshour video (air date April 22, 2011) covers the topic of autism in adults.
The Programming Hope Documentary trailer discusses the problem approximately 90% of adults with autism face: unemployment or underemployment. Programming Hope documents a high tech programming company that employs individuals with ASD. The full documentary is scheduled to be released in 2013.
Articles and Research
Cimera, R., Wehman, P., West, M. & Burgess, S. (2012). Do Sheltered Workshops Enhance Employment Outcomes for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder?. Autism, 16(1), 87-94.
Hendricks, D. (2010). Employment and adults with autism spectrum disorders: Challenges and strategies for success. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 32(2), 125-134.
McDonough, J. & Revell, G. (2010). Accessing employment supports in the adult system for transitioning youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 32(2), 89-100.
Wehman, P. (2011). Employment for Persons with Disabilities: Where are we now and where do we need to go? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 35(3), 145-151.