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People with neurodevelopmental disorders have to overcome various obstacles. The lack of social and professional skills prevents them from having a decent job or entering a college. These people cannot adapt to a social environment without adequate assistance. Various educational and developmental programs are offered to address this issue. However, there is not enough information about positive career outcomes for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The main goal of this paper is to present a review of relevant literature addressing the issue of helping college students with ASD prepare for workforce readiness and job placement.
Many studies are conducted to describe problems that people with ASD encounter. However, there is not enough information about specific obstacles that occur when these persons reach employment age. In the article by Walsh, Lydon, and Healy (2014), the authors present a literature review on the issue relating to intervention for individuals with ASD. Traditionally, people with ASD are marginalized and do not have sufficient opportunities to find an appropriate job.
This article aims at investigating the existing difficulties that individuals with this disorder have to overcome when it comes to employment or vocational placement issues. Also, the authors studied relevant literature that presented interventions that were designed in order to develop required professional skills in people with ASD. After studying 26 works, the authors concluded that there was limited information about employment and vocational skills among people with autism spectrum.
However, the authors emphasized that employment improved the quality of life, mental conditions, and, consequently, welfare of people with ASD. The combination of individual abilities and external factors is a predictor of employment. All works describing interventional techniques demonstrated significant improvement of professional skills among participants with ASD. However, the set of targeted skills was very limited. In conclusion, the authors stated that individuals with ASD were divided into categories with different levels of functioning. Therefore, it is highly necessary to provide all of them with working opportunities disregarding their mental status.
There are different programs that aim at improving professional and social skills in adults with ASD. Hillier, Fish, Cloppert, and Beversdorf (2007) focused on this aspect in their article. Individuals suffering neurodevelopmental disorders endure social isolation that often manifests itself in vocational failures. In spite of the fact that developing social skills among the general population is crucial for society, there are only a few programs that were designed to assist people with ASD who have reached employment age. This article describes the model of and assesses the Aspirations program. It is a support group that aims at developing social and vocational skills in adults with ASD.
The methods applied in this program included cultivating self-confidence and appraising of peer relations. The authors examined data that were obtained from structured observations in order to determine changes of contributions that participants made during the course of the program. Also, the authors reviewed opinions expressed during staff meetings and feedback from participants and their parents to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Several factors that had the most significant effect were highlighted.
These are acceptance into a group, meeting other people with ASD, and opportunities to discuss personal challenges. The authors concluded that the Aspirations program was a successful measure that assisted adults with ASD in gaining required social and professional skills.
The problem related to ASD syndrome is relevant for many students. In the article by Mynatt, Gibbons, and Hughes (2014), the authors discuss the issue of students with Asperger’s syndrome. The number of applicants with this disorder that try to enter colleges has significantly increased. These students experience various symptoms that include the lack of social skills and interests, sensory problems, and insufficient self-awareness.
They serve as additional barriers that prevent students from entering and completing educational programs and finding jobs. The authors underline the necessity of career counselors who work with students diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Career counselors assist in cultivating important skills by means of social cognitive career theory. This method is recognized as one of the most effective. However, career counselors have an opportunity to apply different techniques regarding each individual case.
An application of unique techniques leads to positive outcomes. College students with Asperger’s syndrome have to learn their possible career opportunities. It is an essential ability as many successful graduates cannot find a job. Both positive and negative potential career outcomes should be clearly identified. Counselors also help students to broaden their interests. On the other hand, they might encourage students to focus on more specific areas.
It is necessary to help students link their interests to future goals. Counselors can fully engage students with Asperger’s syndrome in educational processes. However, the authors state that counselors have to be more knowledgeable about the specific and individual abilities of such students that need to be improved. They underline the importance for future research, suggesting areas that lack empirical information. There is not enough data regarding positive career outcomes of people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The authors conclude that such research might present information that is essential for guiding students with this syndrome.
Neurodevelopmental disorders are a serious problem that individuals are faced with throughout the world. The international community has addressed this issue for a long time. However, it has become more relevant in recent years. It is necessary to help persons that experienced ASD symptoms to properly cooperate with others. This issue requires more profound research including gathering empirical data related to positive career outcomes for people with ASD.
Hillier, A., Fish, T., Cloppert, P., & Beversdorf, D. Q. (2007). Outcomes of a social and vocational skills support group for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22(2), 107-115.
Mynatt, B. S., Gibbons, M. M., & Hughes, A. (2014). Career development for college students with Asperger’s syndrome. Journal of Career Development, 41(3), 185-198.
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Walsh, L., Lydon, S., & Healy, O. (2014). Employment and vocational skills among individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Predictors, impact, and interventions. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1(4), 266-275.