When individuals with autism reach adulthood, they will probably find themselves with little or no help and quite often without any job prospects. The ‘cliff’ refers to the time when young adults with autism get too old for publicly-funded services. This so-called adult services “cliff” is gaining more and more attention in the media and is highlighted by the fact that there is very little research available about life with autism beyond the school years.
Learning To Fly, Not Fall, From The Autism Cliff
What little research that there is does show that a significant number of young adults do not find paid employment, or go on to further studies beyond school. Both research and service provision for autism focus mainly on early childhood and school services. This results in many social, financial, mental health and criminal issues for a large number of individuals with autism because there is no ongoing support. The worrying thing is, of course, that we spend most of our lives as adults. What’s worse, is that some charities turn down many autistic applicants for not being disabled enough, but the same people are often seen as being ‘too disabled’ for the workplace. According to the latest national statistics, only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment.
Up until now, most of the autism training has been focused on training professionals and carers who look after children with autism. This model is good for the professionals who clearly need education and training so that they know how to offer the best care possible for people who have autism and the groups that they exist within. It is also particularly useful for very young children and newly diagnosed people.
However, in light of the growing number of people who are being diagnosed and the general cutbacks in services for adults with autism, perhaps there is a need to offer the training to the young people themselves. The Government has committed to halving the disability employment gap, but there is little evidence so far that this is happening. In fact, the autism unemployment statistics have remained the same for the past 10 years. With a bit of creativity, much could be done to help young people fly when they make the leap to adulthood instead of falling head first over the edge.
Here at Concept Training, we want to see these young people and really fly when they take that leap and that is why we offer bespoke consultations and training. Training sessions can be organised for school groups, family groups or youth groups for instance. We can help young people with autism navigate their way around a workplace in a world that doesn’t understand what autism is all about. We can help them to learn how to make their needs understood so that they can offer their gifts and talents to the workforce.