My son never liked school. Besides high-functioning autism, he also had severe ADHD, inattentive type. He was allergic to the ADHD meds, so learning was always a struggle. He was targeted by bullies. Finding friends was not easy.
Circumstances required him to leave school and get a GED. He missed out on post-high school programs provided by the school district. He was on his own.
He applied for several jobs but didn’t have much luck. He had no job skills or work ethic, so he couldn’t keep the jobs he got.
Texas Workforce Commission was a great resource for him. He was referred to their Vocational Rehab program, where he was evaluated for his abilities and his needs. After going through the process, his case manager recommended that he go to Easter Seals’ “New Beginnings” program. This program helps persons with disabilities and military veterans to develop their communication, social and job skills.
Phase 1 was the communication phase. He learned what to say and when to say it. He also worked with group discussions and even learned debating skills.
Phase 2 focused on social skills. They had lessons on stress management and types of stress. They studied the psychology of social skills and some disorders that limited social skills. Weekly potlucks and playing games were part of the curriculum. They even had a talent show where everyone had the chance to show their abilities and talents. He did well with both of those programs.
He’s now in Phase 3, where he’s learning jobs skills—resume writing, how to interview for a job and how to dress for success. He will be placed in job “try-outs” supported by job training staff and will hopefully find a good fit where he can continue long-term. He’s really looking forward to finding success and getting a regular paycheck.
Finding his way forward is ongoing. He wants to be independent, get his own apartment and to manage his own life. With the New Beginnings Program, he’s well on his way.
Texas Workforce Commission has job training programs for people throughout Texas. Young adults should be able to access programs in various parts of the state. Other programs are available through local community colleges and non-profit organizations. Leaving high school isn’t the end of learning. In my son’s case, it’s just the beginning.
Help your child build their independence as they move into adulthood.