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Work for Autistic Teenagers

LesLes Posts: 42 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: 120
    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: 188 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: 42 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: 158 Chatterbox
    What does she want to do?

    "To bloom where we are planted"

  • LesLes Posts: 42 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: 158 Chatterbox
    Its really interesting.

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

    "To bloom where we are planted"

  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 158 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?

    "To bloom where we are planted"

  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 158 Chatterbox
    My husband worked for John Lewis who were very varied, high sales but considerate to employees.

    "To bloom where we are planted"

  • LesLes Posts: 42 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: 42 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: 267 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
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134 Talkative
    Hi, from Fm. I thought autistic folk are sensitive to noise like me with severe misophonia so how can they work or go to higher education? or do autistic folk not all have the same sensitivity? Also I can't understand how anyone with a learning disability can do GCSE A level and then do a degree. I too have learning disability and I'm seriously underdeveloped and I struggled with just 3 lousy CSE's when I was at school and higher education is out of the question, I couldn't even go into the classroom now as things have got far worse as I got older. To me just one educational subject is an overwhelming burden and as for work I couldn't even manually sweep the streets as I get far too hot and sweat like hell and it would mean working amongst other people with all their excruciating noise all around me which is unthinkable. I don't think there is any kind of work opportunity for me. Fm.
  • LesLes Posts: 42 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: 42 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.
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134 Talkative
    Hi, from Fm. Thanks for a prompt reply. I too am severely socially disabled and in my long hard experience it's such folk who are seriously ignored by those who should know better like service providers and those in authority who make and enforce our laws, and the media. With me it's not just loud noises, it doesn't matter how faint or brief it is, I just can't stand any adult exuberance at all or any noise from dogs or anyone whistling or banging doors or anyone clicking their fingers or making a great big fat hacking click sound at the start of every new sentence as newsreaders often do which infuriates me and I sometimes wonder if it's just a bad habit or if it's in their contracts as they often take it in turns and "pass it on". I am in my mid 50's now and I've never had any love life and I only have a couple of friends who I rarely see or hear from and I spend most of my time in my bedroom as I have done all my life, I have a lounge but I don't use it. And I don't have any great academic ability, I just have hands on skills with things like electrics and old fashioned analogue electronics and plumbing and wood and metalwork and decorating and carpet fitting and plastering and basic roof repairs etc. All useful stuff when you have your own home but can't work. I have no parents or family and I only got the house because I had a mum who was a lot like Kirsty Allsop on the TV, an expert in property dealing and she got this house and set it up like I was renting it so I could claim housing benefit and buy it that way and my mum somehow managed to live just long enough for me to finish paying for it and now it's up to me to try and maintain it. It really infuriates me that things like autism are recognised as disability but stuff like misophonia and severe heat intolerance are not and this leads to all manner of conflict and aggro and while all sorts are being done to help make public places and transport better for other disabled folk at the same time it's all going the other way for folk like me as more and more is done that only makes things far worse. And as for "social skills", I'm not much good at that sort of thing, I just like to speak my mind. Fm.
  • LesLes Posts: 42 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.
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Posts: 134 Talkative
    Hi, Les. Is there any autism social centres where your daughter lives? There's one near where I live and I was offered time there but I turned it down because I just absolutely cannot get on with people full stop. It would only cause serious aggro after only minutes and I told them that. I always need the total opposite of what "everyone else" needs or wants and that causes appalling conflict because of the appalling disorders all forced on me. I'm just far too ridiculously hypersensitive to so many things that almost everyone else including other disabled folk always like so I can't have it anywhere near me which is why I also couldn't stay anywhere with anyone, it would only result in serious aggro. And I've had to give up going walking away from the main roads because I keep burning up and sweating to extreme even in the freezing British winter and also because I kept getting furiously aggressively menaced by extremely anti-social and absolutely psychopathic dogs who think they own the place and me too. And no-one in authority ever wants to know about menacing dogs and in fact some liberal somewhere has even taken dogs out of police jurisdiction so it's no good calling the police in such situations which is absolutely outrageous and urgently needs putting right. Even typing these posts is an ordeal because of the absolutely ridiculous level of enforced clumsiness forced on me whenever I try and type anything and it keeps screwing up to an absolutely ludicrous extent and when I try and sort it only screws up even more which absolutely enrages me to the point where I nearly end up smashing up the whole system but then I wouldn't have my internet which I need. And I'm so ridiculously hounded to such an extent that I often end up absolutely screaming my lungs out and smashing things in sheer desperation because it just absolutely will not stop, even when I'm on my own and it's quiet. I can't even get on with myself, how absolutely ridiculous is that? Yet that's how it is with me. It wouldn't matter how much anyone cared about me I just can't fit in anywhere which is why I joined this site to highlight the appalling conditions forced on folk like me. There is always plenty of coverage and sympathy in the media for those who are lucky enough to be born normal and healthy and who then totally screw up their own life with drink and drugs etc. but folk like me are never mentioned. It seems there is a widespread attitude in the media of always blame the victim when it comes to folk like me but they never do that with those who ARE to blame for fouling up their own lives, oh no. I've no sympathy for such people who needlessly choose to wreck their own life and drain the resources of the health services in the process and all too often dreadfully abuse and assault the staff there yet it's folk like me who are stigmatised in the media and not them oh no. Fm.
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