ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Known as a “spectrum” disorder, there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms in individuals. Every individual exhibits different characteristics and patterns; therefore, various challenges can arise throughout adolescence and young adulthood as they go through changes in their lives. While this can present some challenges, it can also show great potential for excellence in many areas of life. Here are some potential challenges and strengths for autistic people.
- Verbal and nonverbal communication (i.e., difficulty communicating own thoughts and feelings, difficulty processing and retaining information, difficulty reading or using facial expressions/social cues)
- Social Differences from peers (i.e., difficulty making and keeping friends, difficulty understanding social behaviors of others, difficulty empathizing)
- Imaginative and Cognitive Rigidity (i.e., difficulty coping with routine changes, struggles to engage in play beyond their interests, sensitivity to sound, sights, and textures)
- Often can focus intently for long periods on a subject that is of interest
- Often have advanced learning and memory ability
- Excel in identifying patterns and memory recall
- Often display a distinctively imaginative and expression of ideas
- Less likely to judge others based on social status, career, accomplishments
It is essential for autistic people and their families to identify both their challenges and strengths. By identifying their challenges, the individual and their family can find the best resources and services to address their challenges and allow them to grow as much as possible. Identifying their strengths will allow them to find hobbies, organizations, and jobs that they enjoy and will enable them to shine! Everyone can face various challenges throughout their lives, so it is important to utilize our strengths and support systems to preserve and overcome those challenges.
Here is an article, https://www.trade-schools.net/articles/jobs-for-autistic-people, with a list of jobs from a variety of industries that can be a good fit for autistic people. These jobs include being a software developer, a photographer, a librarian, a data analyst, and a video game designer. The key is to identify the strengths of the individual and to find a job that showcases their talents. This article also includes tips on how to prepare those with autism for getting a job. This includes ways to prepare, ways to explore unique programs, and ways to ask for what you need from employers.
Other resources that may be helpful:
Autism in the Teen Years: What to Expect, How to Help | Interactive Autism Network (iancommunity.org)
Autism in Teenagers (verywellhealth.com)
The Unique Challenges for Teenagers on the Autism Spectrum | HuffPost Life