Life Journey Through Autism: Transition to Adulthood

by: Tracey Spencer Walsh, Esq
This past week, I had the privilege to meet with leaders from the learning disability, therapeutic, and autism schools from around the country at the Independent Education Consultants Association's (IECA) National Spring Conference in Baltimore, MD. I was selected to give a presentation to this group on how educational consultants and school personnel can help families secure tuition reimbursement for the learning disability and therapeutic residential schools. When educational consultants and private schools know how to help families effectively communicate with their school districts prior to speaking with an attorney, families are in a much stronger position to be successful in obtaining school district funding.

Dr. Lauren Kenworthy, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at George Washingon Medical School and who is also the Director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders gave a presentation that was insightful, practical, and helpful to those of us who are working with families of children with autism. Dr. Kenworthy and her team have written school curriculum for students with ASD and focus particularly on executive dysfunction in order to train the brain to be better organized. Their goal is to see an upward trajectory in performance across the academic, behavioral, and social domains. As more children with autism are moving into the adult world, it is our hope and goal that as adults, employers will hire people with autism, and understand their strengths, rather than focus on what are perceived deficits. The Organization for Autism Research has developed a guide so that employers can better understand the benefits a person with autism will bring to the work environment. For example:

  • A non-verbal person is less likely to verbally disrupt fellow coworkers;
  • Limited social interest will result in staying more focused on work and not wasting time;
  • A person with strong sensory preferences may enjoy working in a quiet office;
  • A very schedule or rule bound person will likely come to work on time, take breaks at the right time, and return from breaks on time;
  • Ritualistic or compulsive type people may offer excellent attention to detail and quality control.

For a copy of the OAR guide, visit my website, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Tracey Spencer Walsh, Esq, All rights reserved.
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