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Preparing Your Loved One for Adult Success

I have been employed by the Autism Society of NC for more than 20 years, and I can honestly say that we have definitely hit a surge in calls regarding adults looking for meaningful employment as well as parents looking to get their adult children out in the community.

Parents of adults typically call for two things:

  • How do I get my adult child motivated to work or attend school?
  • How do I find support to get my adult child prepared to get a job?


It is important for parents to understand first and foremost that the school system can’t do it all. If you know that your child wishes to attend higher education or receive supported employment services after high school, then planning needs to start early.

“Failure to launch” is a term I often hear parents use when they call about their adult children. They are frustrated, knowing their adult children have the ability to succeed but not knowing HOW to get them moving forward.


Tips on preparing ahead

We asked our Triad Employment Supports team for some advice on how parents can help their children prepare for future employment and what parents and autism self-advocates can do to explore options for supported employment. Here are their tips:

  • Encourage your child to build experience early. Assign chores at home and hold them accountable for completing them. Encourage them to join clubs, groups, and organizations that build skills and can be added to a resume. Encourage them to volunteer, which builds work skills and experience.
  • Promote independence at home so your child can be more accustomed to doing things on their own.
  • Practice money-handling skills at home.
  • Think about transportation to and from work. Will they drive, will someone take them, or can they use public transportation?
  • When looking for skilled or professional jobs, ensure proper qualifications are met. Is a degree needed? A trade school certificate? What social skills are needed? Qualifications for jobs should be looked at realistically and must be met before applying.
  • Help your child understand work expectations such as being on time, following directions, listening to your supervisor, and having as much availability as possible.
  • Be positive about the job search and the job once it is obtained. Provide praise and encouragement for your child to work. Be involved in the process. Communicate with your child and the job coaches and reinforce things at home.


Tools from ASNC

Teaching our children independence can feel like an overwhelming process. The good news is that ASNC has many tools and resources that can assist you.


Judy Smithmyer can be reached at or 336-333-0197, ext. 1402.


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