Work for Autistic Teenagers

LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
I have a daughter who is on the Autistic Spectrum (high functioning with learning difficulties). She will soon be 17 and is in mainstream with 1 to 1 support. She has just taken her GCSE's and I expect that she will be able to continue with her A levels.
The problem I see, is that their are very few jobs available for such young people. All I ever see are jobs that are so below her level and are not satisfactory.
My question is -
Are there any companies in the UK that clearly cater for somebody like my daughter and take care and support them properly.
Many thanks.

Replies

  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 120Member
    You are right to be looking at options now.
    I will be in the same position in a few years hence.
    Have you looked at or heard of Camphill communities?
  • HeatherHeather Posts: 188Member Listener
    Hi. My son is a bit young for all this, but I have heard Connexions are good for supporting Special Needs young people get into employment. Having just had my son's statement re-assessed the LEA added a provision in to cover his transition out of school in 5 years time, which surprised us.
  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    Just seen this. Sorry I didn't respond.

    She is now 21 and taking her 3rd year of her English and History degree at University.

    @Alistair I will have a look at your suggestion. Thanks. She did do a week of work in between, as part of her degree. So the crunch will be in June when she has finished.

    @Heather Unfortunately, Connexions weren't much help. If you want a job doing properly, do it yourself. So they say :-)
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 118Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    What does she want to do?

    "We must bloom where we are planted" 



  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    @mossycow She knows what she would like to do, because she is very intelligent, but her high anxiety and depression, will restrict what she can do.

    She is beginning to realise that.


    On questioning her recently, it has become obvious, that she needs a job that is constantly changing to keep her interested and motivated, without having any management position, because her social skills are so low.


    She needs to work with people who are understanding, and who do not shout, bully or put her under pressure.


    In a way, she could do with working in a big shop that whilst having high sales, does not put it's workers under pressure to achieve.


    Funnily enough, I went into Staples the other day, looking at office chairs. This lad of about 20 odd, was walking by, with a trolley with chairs to assemble.

    So I asked him if he could help. I explained my disabilities, which are not visual. He said that he had non visual disabilities and told me he was Autistic. I was amazed and spent 30 minutes chatting to him, about how he managed to hold his job down, considering how difficult it is for people with Autism, to be able to deal with front line situations.


    He said that he slowly learnt to gain confidence to talk with the customers, which Staples had helped him with. He hated it when he started as he was in panic.


    He thanked me for spending the time to talk to him, in a way that understood his issues. He said, I was the first person he could openly talk to about his Autism and the issues he has had to overcome. I explained that I had a daughter on the spectrum. He said that he wished his parents could talk to him like that.


    I felt really honoured.


    As I drove home, I kept on thinking, that Staples seemed to be the sort of company she might be able to work for. I talked with her and she seemed enthusiastic.

    The only other thought was going into programming, as she realised that Autistic people seemed to have a skill for that. Her memory is amazing and once she knows how to do a task, she never forgets. I explained that she would need to probably try and get an apprenticeship, to do that. It would mean less money, but chance to gain valuable experience. She seemed happy with that as well. She has learnt to touch type pretty well and seems pretty good with her computer, tablet and smart phone.

    Sorry for the long story, but it is important to know how she operates.
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 118Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Its really interesting.

    Do you mind me asking then., if the world was perfect, what does she want to do?

    "We must bloom where we are planted" 



  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 118Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Hope that didnt come out too clumsy, I'm sore. I'm just wondering what her starting point is. Has she been interested in History?

    "We must bloom where we are planted" 



  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 118Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    My husband worked for John Lewis who were very varied, high sales but considerate to employees.

    "We must bloom where we are planted" 



  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    mossycow said:
    Its really interesting.

    Do you mind me asking then., if the world was perfect, what does she want to do?

    I think she would love to be able to take people round historic buildings as a guide. Unfortunately, she would freak out at having to do that. We take her on cultural holidays and she loves visiting historic buildings.


    If she could overcome her fears, she could genuinely could become an excellent singer. She has the most wonderful voice and can read music and also learn by ear. However, she will only sing in her room, and if anybody say to her that her singing was beautiful, she has a meltdown. She will not sing in front of anybody.
  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    mossycow said:
    Hope that didnt come out too clumsy, I'm sore. I'm just wondering what her starting point is. Has she been interested in History?

    Not a problem. I have explained in my previous post about History. She has stayed on campus for the 3 years, as nobody wants to live with her. The students have always been kind to her, but wanting her to live with them off campus will not happen. Her social interaction has been a nightmare for her and us.
  • DannyMooreDannyMoore Posts: 147Member Chatterbox
    @Les,
    no need to be sorry for a long story, the more information you provide, the easier members will find it to help you.
    I have Asperger's Syndrome, after learning that people with autism have obsessive fields of interest and can hyper-focus. I have a big interest in maths making me direct it to gaining a job involving maths. 
    I'm sure you've heard sometimes it's easier to hear from a stranger like the autistic employee you spoke of. Another thing I believe is the first time is the hardest time. Encourage your daughter to try a few times and the anxiety and depression will likely reduce, I experience these things myself. If employers do not make adjustments for your daughter's difficulties and needs you can always report it.
    You will find it helpful to read posts on this community written by members with autism sharing their experiences like the man in the store.
    Don't Fear Your True Self
  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    edited January 20
    She is classed as high functioning with learning difficulties. She also has mild dyspraxia, is clumsy and cannot stand bright lights. She also suffers from high anxiety and depression, for which she see's the consultant for.

    We have supported her for 18 years and I have spent hours and hours and hours helping her, to step by step accomplish small tasks. I was a teacher, when she was diagnosed at the age of 3. My wife is a self employed translator.
    We decided when she was 3, that one of us needed to stop work and support and educate her through horrendous times.
    Because of less income, we have had to downsize 4 times, because we couldn't afford to live on our income.
    However, we wouldn't have done it any other way.
    Her social skills are terrible, and she has no friends and nobody really wants to know her.
    She had a statement and 25 hours support, per week, at school. As you say, she can't handle loud noises etc.
    Since she stopped at school, she got support through Student Finance, having been assessed by them.
    So at University, she has support both 1 to 1 and through student support. The lecturers has special instructions on how to deal with her.
    She has stayed on site at the University for 3 years, as it was not feasible to go and live outside.
    She has hated the social side and struggles very badly, with the other students in her block of flats.
    However, she, like a lot of Autistic people, are very bright, and therefore through support and lots of help, she has managed it.
    The cost to us, has been enormous. The first year at University, we had calls every day, because she was having a meltdown. Every time crying her head off. Left us totally distraught. But we needed her to try and be Independent, because when we are dead, she will have nobody supporting her.
    One thing we did, was to ensure that we did as much socially with her as possible through the years, and that has helped considerably  She has never been anywhere on holiday without us. She doesn't like that, but she knows that nobody else will look after her, so she accepts it.
    We have to bring her home every weekend, because she can't handle it.
    So @Fundamentalist you need to realise, that people on the spectrum, have different levels of severity, but they all have big issues with socialising. Her safe place is her bedroom and I can't tell you the hours she has spent in her bedroom.

    However, to take up a point you made, the aspect of work. I don't think she will ever be able to work, or if she does, she probably won't keep  it very long, We are unable to tell her that, because we need to keep her self esteem as high as possible. I am working very hard on her behalf, to find a job, that might just work. The only way that will happen, is if she is in a quite, chilled out environment, with colleagues, who understand the nature of Autism.

    Hope that helps :-)

  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    @Les,
    no need to be sorry for a long story, the more information you provide, the easier members will find it to help you.
    I have Asperger's Syndrome, after learning that people with autism have obsessive fields of interest and can hyper-focus. I have a big interest in maths making me direct it to gaining a job involving maths. 
    I'm sure you've heard sometimes it's easier to hear from a stranger like the autistic employee you spoke of. Another thing I believe is the first time is the hardest time. Encourage your daughter to try a few times and the anxiety and depression will likely reduce, I experience these things myself. If employers do not make adjustments for your daughter's difficulties and needs you can always report it.
    You will find it helpful to read posts on this community written by members with autism sharing their experiences like the man in the store.

    Thank you @DannyMoore for your input, very much appreciated. It sounds like you have done really well. Good on you.
  • LesLes Posts: 42Member Talkative
    Hi FM. I am so glad, your mum managed to do what she did, concerning the house. She is special.

    You have a lot of skills and you should be proud of that. Your skills are similar, in a way, to my daughters ability to earn her degree.

    If only there was a couple, who have a big house and allowed you to stay with them, in return for you doing the DIY. I found out that there are people, who have people with Autism living in their house and they care for them. I am trying to remember where I got that information. I think it was from the Autistic Society.

    I found one such place in Lincoln. The couple seemed very nice, but they only had one person. I would like my daughter to be in supported living with several people in the same house.


    I personally think you are doing really well, considering the issues that you face. I just wish, there were people around, who cared enough to help you and spend time with you and go on little trips etc, that would break your day up. Just simple things, like walks in the countryside or doing things that would interest you.


    Maybe Scope could source such things for you, although, maybe you have already been down that road.


    The nice thing, is that you can come on here and find people who are willing to make conversation with you.


    Best wishes.
Sign in or join us to comment.