Employment for Adults with Autism

author:

Jobs.  We each expect to find a job when we are adults. Some people know exactly what they

want to do for a job. Many people try different jobs to find one that fits. For my son with

Autism Spectrum Disorder, (or Autism), a job is more like a hope or idea. He is now an adult.

He has skills that would be useful in different work places. The challenge is to find a work

place that will even let him try to work.

Is he the only person with Autism who is not able to find a job?  I wanted to find out. So, here

is what I learned about employment or jobs, for people with Autism. There are not a lot of

data on this topic. Data are collected for people with disabilities. But data are not often sorted by diagnosis.

This chart shows what I did learn about jobs for young adults with Autism. The chart showsChart of employment of young adults with autism

the employment rates for young adults who

have ever worked after high school. It specifies

rates by category. The rates are learning

disability, 95%, Speech/language impairment,

91%,  Emotional disturbance, 91%, Intellectual

Disability, 74% and Autism, 58%. It confirms

that my son is not alone in being unemployed.

There are companies looking to hire. Dell EMC in Central Massachusetts is

one of them. According to an article in the Worcester Business Journal on May

15, 2017, Dell EMC will have a hiring program. This hiring program will work to bring more

people with Autism into the company. They want to hire people with Autism for their skills.

It is good to read about a company that wants to hire people with Autism. This company needs

very specific skills. We will keep working on developing my son’s skills that might be useful in

future jobs. We will talk with our friends and families about hiring people with Autism. We

hope that there is a work place that will welcome our son in the future.

There is an article that summarizes the existing research about hiring an adult with Autism. (1.)

This article surveyed all the published articles that considered the costs and benefits to society,

to the person with Autism and to the employer. The first finding is that there is not enough

research being done on the costs and benefits to employers. It did find some results showing

that it costs society less to have people with Autism employed rather than not employed.

There are indications that people with Autism are happier and busier if they have jobs. The

hope is that more research will be done in the future. This research may show that it is not too

costly to employ people with Autism. Then, maybe more companies would be willing to

interview, train and hire people with Autism. It would make the hope or dream of a job,

become a real job for my son and his peers.

 

  1. The Costs and Benefits of Employing an Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

Andrew Jacob, Melissa Scott, Marita Falkmer, Torbjörn Falkmer

PLoS One. 2015; 10(10): e0139896. Published online 2015 Oct 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139896

PMCID: PMC4596848 Article PubReader PDF–1.3MCitation

 

Abilities at work

author:

My name is Scott Janz. I am a Job Coach. I help adults find jobs.

Man standing at work

Disabilities at Work

People with disabilities can work. Disability does not mean not able. I help many adults get hired. People with disabilities take pride in making a change. Jobs are important for all. I believe biases can be broken. Breaking barriers is vital. I help people reach fairness. Everyone deserves the same chance to get a job.           

Strengths at work

  • Hard work ethic
  • Low turnover
  • Increased diversity
  • Inclusion
  • Loyal
  • Productive
  • Consistent
  • Structured

 Bias at work

Bias exists at work for many adults.  Bias can take many forms. Bullying and stigma are examples. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against bias at work. I work with adults at their jobs. I support their skills. We need to make work fun.

“Time to Potty”: Tips for Toilet Training

author:

As a pediatrician, I work with all children including those with disabilities. This blog shares tips for toilet training. Toilet training can be difficult for all families. It can be especially challenging for children with disabilities. They often need more time, directions, practice, and patience to learn these skills. Each family will need to change these tips to work in their home.

Strategies for Toilet Training:picture of toilet arrow pointing to car

Create a Schedule

  1. Schedule toilet times, with a goal of 4-6 sits a day.
  2. Use a visual schedule or pictures to help your child understand toileting.
    1. Pictures of your child doing each step: going into the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, reaching for the toilet paper, flushing, and washing hands.
  3. Use first…then statements. First toilet then something your child enjoys doing. “First toilet then play with cars”.
    1. Create a picture board with simple pictures (see example)
  4. Instead of asking if your child needs to go to the bathroom say, “Time for the toilet.”

Sitting on the Toilet

  1. At first, the sits on the toilet are short (5 seconds per trip) with one long trip to stopwatchpractice having a bowel movement. Over time increase the sitting time (e.g., up to 5minutes).
      1. Setting a visual timer lets your child know when the sitting ends.
  2. Sits at first can be in clothes. Then underwear. Then without underwear.
    1. If your child uses the toilet then your child can get up right away.
    2. Boys are taught to sit on the toilet to urinate until regularly having bowel movements on the toilet.
  3. Keep track of bowel habits to create your schedule. Watch for signs that your child needs the bathroom (crossing legs and dancing or going to a corner)
      1. 20-30 minutes after dinner or a snack, your child should go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet.
  4. Drinking more fluids and eating more fiber will help your child toilet more.

Make It Fun

award ribbon

  1. Move to underwear. It helps your child realize when he/she is wet or soiled. If able, have your child pick out the underwear.
  2. Bring a favorite book or sing a favorite song that is only read/sung in the bathroom.
  3. If your child does to the bathroom, give IMMEDIATE praise. At the end of the timer, praise your child for sitting on the toilet.
  4. Create rewards for toilet training, one for sitting and two for going. Can use sticker charts or small prizes only used for toileting. Give the reward IMMEDIATELY after the bathroom trip. Reward even small successes.
  5. After sitting on the toilet, your child can do a preferred activity. Using first then statements (above).
  6. Read fun books about toilet training with your child at bedtime.

Stick to It

      1. Accidents happen. Let your child know it is no big deal. Change your child in the bathroom to learn the bathroom is for toileting.
      2. Work towards the same goal for 3 weeks.

Create a Team

      1. Make toileting a team goal with school teachers, therapists, and your doctor.
      2. Working on toileting at home and school will increase learning.
      3. Watch for constipation and talk to your pediatrician. Constipation can slow toilet training progress

Additional Information and References:

Dyslexia and technology, moving the gap.

author:

My name is James Northridge. I’m a researcher in assistive technology. I am from Ireland. I girl using a tabletam based in Boston for a fellowship.

I have dyslexia. I battle with it daily. It is a challenge when working in research. There is a level of expectation. Mainly that everyone should have a certain ability. I use technology to help me overcome these challenges.

I’m going to discuss technology to help with reading and writing. I will give you some Apps that can help with dyslexia.

There are many famous people that have dyslexia. Examples are Tom Cruise, Richard Branson, and Steven Spielberg. I look at my dyslexia as a super power. It enables me to think differently. It gives me the ability to consider possibilities. It also gets in the way. It makes life hard at times. Like all superpowers I guess!

We are in a time when many people have access to a smartphone or a tablet. I really do believe it’s a great time to have dyslexia. There is so much technology that can help. It’s easy to get.

5 technologies that can make the difference

  1. Voice Dream Reader on the App Store – iTunes – Apple. This is a Text to Speech reader. It is one of the best available.
  2. Claro ScanPen Reader on the App Store – iTunes – Apple. With this app, you take a picture of a page and it reads to you.
  3. Notability on the App Store – iTunes – Apple. Useful for taking notes in class. It records the class. It matches any notes you take in class or images from the board.
  4. SnapType Pro on the App Store – iTunes – Apple. Useful for filling in a form digitally.
  5. Prizmo – Scanning, OCR, and Speech on the App Store – iTunes – Apple. Use this to scan larger documents that you have to read. You can save them to review or read later.

Bonus App: Flat Tomato (Time Management) on the App Store – iTunes – Apple. This is an app that helps you manage your time. It uses the Pomodoro technique.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), what is it and where do I start?

author:


My name is James Northridge. I’m a researcher in the disability and assistive technology boy using a tabletfield. I am from Ireland. I am based in Boston for a fellowship.

I am developing a selection tool for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) apps. It will help parents, teachers, and specialists choose the correct App for users.

So, what is this AAC that I’m talking about? Well, it’s any form of communication that enables people to express themselves. We typically think voice is the only method of communication. However, we use many forms of contact each day. Can you think of ones you are using right now? Did you use any facial expressions or hand gestures? Maybe you drew a picture to explain something?

Selecting the correct AAC App is all about what works for the person who will use it. That’s the point at which you must start when looking to choose AAC Apps. This is true whether you are a parent or a professional.

Steps in the process of selecting AAC Apps for Parents

(If you have access to a professional, start there)

  1. What is the goal for the user? For example, is it choice making, requesting, or supporting literacy?
  2. Have access to a list of AAC Apps that you can review.
  3. Work on some feature matching to find out what the user needs.
  4. Reduce the list of AAC Apps to those with the required features.
  5. Try some of the shortlisted Apps, and create a shortlist.
  6. Gain insight from professionals, so ask for input from a teacher or care worker.
  7. Try no more than 3 AAC Apps to see which one works best. Keep some notes on the experience.
  8. Select one App from the shortlist and work with it for a few weeks.
  9. Training the user on how to get the most out of it is important.

These are the starting steps when going about selecting AAC Apps. Everyone is different. Therefore, their needs and wants are different too. This means an App that works for one person may not work for another person.

Some online resources for selecting AAC Apps

Jane Farrell AAC App List – this is a good list of AAC Apps

PrAACtical AAC Blog – this has some great AAC resources

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Toddler – How Might They Look Different?

author:

About Me

young child

SKEPTICAL CHILD BY ARIESA66 LICENCED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS CCO

I am a developmental-behavioral pediatrician in training.  I am often asked to see children for concern about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). During my visit, I watch how children behave.  I then decide if ASD is the diagnosis that best fits their behavior.  I see children of all ages. This is about children less than age 3.

 Why Toddlers are Different

Children with ASD tend to respond better to treatment when they are diagnosed early. (National Research Counsel, 2001). Many children can be diagnosed as young as 18 months of age. But most children are diagnosed between 3-4 years of age (Filipek, 1999).

One reason is because the early symptoms are hard to see.  Some of the best-known symptoms may not show up until a child is older. These include flapping their hands and repeating parts of TV shows.

Toddlers with ASD often don’t learn the skills they need to interact with others. Children who are behind in just their ability to use language still try to interact. They will often use eye contact and gestures to work around their struggles. Children with ASD have trouble with this.

Here are some free websites and videos to help anyone who cares for young children. This information shows what we call the “red flag signs” for ASD.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

The website Autism Navigator talks about the early signs of autism. There is a free course with videos about toddlers with ASD. You have to register to use the site. They also have a list of red flag signs for toddlers. These include:

  • not looking at someone when their name is called;
  • not showing others objects they like;
  • not sharing their interests with the ones they love;
  • not making eye contact; and/or
  • not using gestures to let people know what they want.

There are other resources on this website. However, not all of them are free.

How a Toddler with ASD Might Look

Here are some videos from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing how a toddler with autism spectrum might look. There are also toddlers that do not have the warning signs of autism. This enables you to see how they differ. All the videos are on the CDC video library.  Some of the videos are linked below.

Looking at someone when their name is called

Here is a video of a 12-month-old who responds to his name by looking at his mother and smiling. He also points at her. This is what we expect a toddler to do when their name is called.

12-month-old looking when called

Here is a video of an 18-month-old not looking at his mother when his name is called. A toddler who can hear should look when his name is called.

18-month-old child not looking when called

Play

This video shows a 13-month-old stacking cups. He involves his father and gives him the cups. Many toddlers seek out their loved ones when playing.

13-month-old toddler playing with father

Here is a 17-month-old toddler who is not showing pretend play with a phone. He also does not copy the adult when she tries to show him how to use it. These are both warning signs of ASD.

17-month-old toddler not showing pretend play

Twins and a train

The last video shows a set of twins, who are 19 months old.

  • The first one does not have signs of ASD. He likes to push the train back and forth with his mother.
  • The second twin does have signs of ASD. He needs to be asked to push the train. He also does not seem to enjoy playing with his mother.

19-month-old twins pushing train

The Importance of Those Who Care for Children

Parents and early-childhood workers interact with young children the most. They often are the first to know something is wrong. They can be important to get a child with ASD the help they need. These links and videos can help anyone who is interested better know the warning signs for ASD.

Works Cited

Filipek, P. e. (1999). The screening and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 439-484.

National Research Counsel. (2001). Educating children with autism. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

 

A Beginners Course About Disabilities

author:

My disability is one part of who i am.

Leading change in society Copyright 2015 Marines

My name is Scott Janz. I advocate for social fairness.

What is the plan?

My job focuses on disabilities in the community .

Disabilities are part of culture. What is a disability? A college course on disabilities can help. A beginner course could cover the following.

Carry out Plan

Areas of focus:

Why does this matter?

To create hope for change. Disabilities are rising in society. We have future leaders in colleges. We need to excite them to lead change. People with disabilities have rights. We should help them reach those rights. We need to advocate for change in the public.  I would like the public to learn more about disabilities. Everyone has a voice.

Sensory Processing Disorder What is it? What to look for? What to do?

author:

I am a therapist.  I am certified to give the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test.  I score the

Little boy sobbing

A little boy sobbing. Intensely upset and overcome with emotion.

test and tell parents what the results mean. Praxis means motor planning.

What is it?

The body’s senses get information. The brain receives the information. The brain processes the information wrong.

The senses that might show symptoms are any or all of the following:

– Taste.                    – Touch.                             – Smell.

– Sight .                    – Sound.                            – Pressure.

– Knowing where your body is in space.             – Balance.

– Able to feel warm, hot, cold, etc.

What should caregivers look for?

Each child may show different symptoms.  Ayers (1979) states to look for:

  • behavior problems;
  • slowness to speak;
  • clumsiness;
  • easily distracted;
  • trouble learning; and/or
  • trouble at school.

The severity of the symptoms can look different from child to child.

How can you help?

Parents can help.

  • NOTICE: Is your child having difficulty at school, home, or with friends?
  • DOCTOR: Is your child having difficulty? Contact their doctor.
  • THERAPY: Bring your child to a therapist. Make sure the therapist is trained in sensory integration.

Caregiver Resources

Reference

Ayers, A. J. (1979). What is sensory integrative dysfunction.  In Sensory integration and the child (pp. 56-58).  Location: Western Psychological Services.

Keeping Colon Cancer Away

author:

picture of a person colonKeeping healthy is important for everyone.  People who have developmental disabilities need to do the same things to stay healthy as everybody else.  This can be hard. Doctors and nurses do not always talk with people who have disabilities about staying healthy.  Doctors and nurses can be very busy fixing health problems. Sometimes they forget to try to stop problems before they start.

Why is staying healthy so important?

  • Because we feel good when we are healthy!
  • It is easier to stop sickness before it starts. It is harder to make sickness go away once we have it.

Colon cancer is a type of sickness that is very common in people who have disabilities.

  • Cancer is what happens when our bodies grow extra pieces inside that are not supposed to be there.
  • When cancer happens in the colon, it is called colon cancer.
  • Our colons hold our solid waste, or poop, until it is time to let it out of our bodies.

Colon cancer is very serious. It can:

  • Make you feel sick.
  • Make it hard to eat and drink.
  • Cause problems with using the bathroom
  • Be very painful
  • Sometimes, make you die.

There is some good news. There are a lot of things we can do so we do not get colon cancer. We can also get checked by a doctor or nurse to catch colon cancer in our bodies before it makes us sick.

First, let’s talk about preventing colon cancer. This means we will talk about the things we can do to keep from getting colon cancer.

  • The food you eat is very important to keep your colon healthy. Eating a lot of red meat like beef, pork, or lamb is bad for your colon. It is also bad to eat a lot of sandwich meat or hot dogs.
  • You can help your colon by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like oats, brown rice and 100% whole grain breads. Be sure to speak to your doctor before you make any changes to your diet.
  • Keeping a healthy weight, or not having too much fat on your body is also important to keeping your colon healthy. You should ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for your body. Also ask what kind of exercise you can do to lose weight or keep a healthy weight. Even if you are not overweight, staying active is important to keep your colon healthy. Any activity that is more than you usually do may help your colon stay healthy!
  • Our bad habits can be bad for our colons, too. If you smoke, try to quit. Ask your doctor what you can try to help you quit. There are special medicines that can make it easier to quit. There is a pill, a skin patch and a special chewing gum. If you drink alcohol, drink no more than one drink a day if you are a woman.  If you are a man, drink no more than two drinks a day.  If you drink alcohol every day, make sure you tell your doctor. Also tell your doctor if you plan to drink less or stop drinking.

Sometimes we can still get colon cancer even if we are healthy. There is good news, though. If colon cancer is found early, doctors can treat it before it has a chance to make us sick.

To catch colon cancer early, talk to your doctor!  Tell the doctor that you would like to know more about getting checked for colon cancer. Usually you start getting checked for colon cancer once you are 50 years old. If someone in your family has had colon cancer, make sure to tell your doctor or nurse. They should talk with you about getting checked for colon cancer sooner.

There are a few different ways that you can get checked.

  • The most common way is to have a test called a colonoscopy. The day before the test you will drink a special drink or take some medicine. This will make you empty your bowels, or poop. At the test you will be given medicine to help you relax and sleep. The doctor will look inside your colon with a small camera.  The doctor will look to see if there is any colon cancer. If there is cancer that is still small, the doctor will remove it. The doctor can also remove any small polyps. Polyps are pieces of your colon that look like they might turn into cancer.  This test should be done every 10 years. If colon cancer or polyps are found, you will need to have this test more often.
  • A sigmoidoscopy is like a colonoscopy. But, it doesn’t look at your whole colon. This test uses a small camera. It looks inside the lower part of the colon, called the sigmoid colon. Sometimes this type of test is easier for people to have. You do not need to drink the special drink or take medicine that makes you empty your bowels, or poop. You also usually do not need medicine to make you relaxed and sleepy. This test should be repeated every 5 years.
  • There is a new type of test called Cologuard. You do not need to drink a special drink or take medicine first. You can do this test at home. First, you collect a small bit of solid waste, or poop. Then you send it in a special kit in the mail. The kit checks your solid waste, or poop, for a change in a chemical called DNA. This change may mean you have colon cancer. Then you’d need to have a colonoscopy to check for sure. Not everybody can have this kind of test. You should not have this test if you have had colon cancer. You should not have this test if you have colon problems. You should not have this test if somebody in your family has had colon cancer. This test should be repeated every 3 years.

Maybe you have read all of this and you are thinking that keeping colon cancer away sounds like a lot of work. Or, maybe you are having a hard time deciding what to do first. The most important thing you can do is talk with your doctor! Tell the doctor that you would like to stay healthy and keep colon cancer away. Doctors and nurses love to help people stay healthy. Sometimes they just need a friendly reminder about checking for colon cancer!

For more information, visit:

The American Cancer Society

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/understanding-tests-that-screen-for-colon-cancer.html

Colon Cancer Alliance

https://www.ccalliance.org/get-screened/prevention-and-screening/

 

Building Healthy Friendships

author:

Children on the grass laying in a circle

(Photo from Wikipedia- Creative Commons license):

As a nurse, I enjoy helping people to lead happy, healthy lives.  Having friends is one way we can make our lives more joyful. Friends can talk and relax together, and have fun together! Having friends is not always easy, though.  We do not always know everything we need to know about how to make friends. We also may not know how to be a good friend.

Here are a few tips to help.

  • If you would like to make new friends, tell somebody! Find somebody you trust, like your mom, dad, brother, sister or caregiver. They can help you think about:
  • What you are looking for in a friend.
  • Things you like to do, and things you may want to try.
  • If you like to spend time with groups of people or if you like to spend time with one person at a time.
  • Make a plan for making friends! Think about places you to go and things you like to do near where you live.
  • You can look in the local newspaper or web sites for special events and activities that interest you.
  • Maybe try joining a sports team or try a fitness class like Zumba or karate.
  • Volunteer at a school or soup kitchen and you can make friends and help other people at the same time!
  • Do you like to read or watch movies? You could start a movie or book club.
  • Practice! It may sound silly, but sometimes making new friends can make us feel nervous.

Try to practice talking to a make-believe new friend in front of a mirror or with a person you trust. Then, when you meet a new friend, you will have ideas of what to say.

This can make you feel less nervous.Then you can enjoy yourself when you are with a new friend!

  • Get ready! This will help you to feel good about yourself when you meet someone new.
  • Make sure you are clean and fresh with good personal hygiene.
  • Wear clean clothes that you feel good wearing.
  • Comb your hair and brush your teeth!
  • Keep working at it! Making new friends can take time. It can take a few visits with a new friend to feel comfortable together.
  • Talk with your friend about how often you would like to see each other.
  • You can talk about what you both like to do, and take turns choosing what you do or where you go.
  • Ask for help! Sometimes friends do not always agree. This is normal! People are not exactly the same and do not always like the same things.
  • If you and your friend disagree try to focus on the things you have in common.
  • If you are having trouble with a friend, talk to somebody you trust about it. They may be able to help you and your friend work through the trouble.
  • Know the signs of a bad friendship.

A friend should NOT:

  • Make fun of you or call you names
  • Hit you or touch you in a way you do not like
  • Lie or tell you things that are not true
  • Always want to know where you are and what you are doing
  • Keep asking for money or gifts

Tell somebody you trust right away if a friend is doing one of these things! You can choose not to be friends with a person who treats you this way.

Making new friends may seem hard at first. You may need to give it a few tries to find someone you have things in common with. Keep trying and soon you will be relaxing and having fun and enjoying time with your new friends!

For more information, visit:  Widening the Circle

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