Autism & the difficulty of getting & doing a job

Posted by usernameca @usernameca, Sep 28, 2018

Have you noticed it is difficult to get hired? And if you do get hired, have you noticed how it’s almost impossible to do the job? If people with Autism don’t stand up for their rights, no one else is going to. And in my opinion, no one has.

Just stopping by to thank you all here for starting this discussion/group. I am thrilled that there is the opportunity under such competent leadership to express one's opinions, share facts, and tell the stories of how they overcame. Sometimes, most of the time, actually, there are many struggles and challenges. That does not pose a problem . There are always mountains to be crossed, no matter who we are or where we are in life. I have had many interesting jobs in my 66 years. I am not done yet. If I can make it, anyone can. With the right support, training, and work skills, there are opportunities available. We need to all work together to support one another.

Talk to you soon!

Mamacita

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@harleneq Hi there! You had posted about your son having difficulty finding a job, and that he has been diagnosed with autism. Has he found a position that is a good fit for him? If so, can you share any tips that helped him be successful? And how are you doing with your support of him? It must be difficult to watch your child struggle, isn't it? Working can be such a rewarding experience, but sometimes the wrong fit has just the opposite effect.
Ginger

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@usernameca How has your job hunt been going? Are there any good tips you can share with us? Having meaningful work is important to everyone, and being on the autism spectrum means we sometimes have to have special concessions to be comfortable!
Ginger

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@gingerw

@harleneq Hi there! You had posted about your son having difficulty finding a job, and that he has been diagnosed with autism. Has he found a position that is a good fit for him? If so, can you share any tips that helped him be successful? And how are you doing with your support of him? It must be difficult to watch your child struggle, isn't it? Working can be such a rewarding experience, but sometimes the wrong fit has just the opposite effect.
Ginger

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Hi @gingerw, my stepson has been diagnosed with autism. He is in his 30s now. He has a mild case of autism so it is difficult for people who once meet him to see his disability. A person will not notice unless they have several interactions with him. It is very limiting and challenging. Each person with autism is slightly different from another as some have a behavior more pronounced where it becomes an infatuation. With my stepson his is watching shows and movies particularly superheroes. He can recite the words in those shows. He sees them over and over. His discussions are all about movies and shows because that is his interest. He has had jobs over the years but nothing long lasting. It is difficult to find a job that fits his interest. So far any jobs involving thinking he cannot do like restocking shelves because he had to know and give counts or cashier. He has also tried driving a van. It is difficult seeing him struggle but he chooses not to listen to any advice. He probably can’t follow advice. He has learned it is much easier for him to say “yes” although he doesn’t understand rather than to listen to explanations. People who don’t know him think he understands the simplest things when he does not. This continually gets him into trouble. I know of another older woman who has similar traits. She wants people to believe she can understand to do things just like my stepson. Toni

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@avmcbellar

Hi @gingerw, my stepson has been diagnosed with autism. He is in his 30s now. He has a mild case of autism so it is difficult for people who once meet him to see his disability. A person will not notice unless they have several interactions with him. It is very limiting and challenging. Each person with autism is slightly different from another as some have a behavior more pronounced where it becomes an infatuation. With my stepson his is watching shows and movies particularly superheroes. He can recite the words in those shows. He sees them over and over. His discussions are all about movies and shows because that is his interest. He has had jobs over the years but nothing long lasting. It is difficult to find a job that fits his interest. So far any jobs involving thinking he cannot do like restocking shelves because he had to know and give counts or cashier. He has also tried driving a van. It is difficult seeing him struggle but he chooses not to listen to any advice. He probably can’t follow advice. He has learned it is much easier for him to say “yes” although he doesn’t understand rather than to listen to explanations. People who don’t know him think he understands the simplest things when he does not. This continually gets him into trouble. I know of another older woman who has similar traits. She wants people to believe she can understand to do things just like my stepson. Toni

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@gingerw, I would like to add 15 years ago I saw young adults with mental disabilities in a group home. Twice a week these adults were driven in a bus to a daycare, like a school, which taught them life skills plus for a few hours had to work. I don’t know what exactly each person did for a job but I would think it was within their capability. The school was an all day event and the job was on the premises. A few years ago my stepson was not accepting of his disability. He did not believe he had autism and would not attend a place for potential help. He wanted nothing to do with it. Sadly there was not much we could do. Toni

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@avmcbellar

@gingerw, I would like to add 15 years ago I saw young adults with mental disabilities in a group home. Twice a week these adults were driven in a bus to a daycare, like a school, which taught them life skills plus for a few hours had to work. I don’t know what exactly each person did for a job but I would think it was within their capability. The school was an all day event and the job was on the premises. A few years ago my stepson was not accepting of his disability. He did not believe he had autism and would not attend a place for potential help. He wanted nothing to do with it. Sadly there was not much we could do. Toni

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@avmcbellar It sounds like you have been very supportive of your son. As he has shown, finding the "right fit" can be a difficult task. Does your son live on his own, or in a group situation? NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness] may have a chapter near you, that you can contact for information and assistance. Another avenue to look in to is a county or state organization, through their mental health services. Also, autismspeaks.org is a remarkable group of people to help point your son towards a path.

It takes gentle guidance to help someone who is autistic. Oftentimes, there may be additional psychological factors that need a professional's assessment.

I hope this helps you, and please let me know how your son is getting along.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@avmcbellar It sounds like you have been very supportive of your son. As he has shown, finding the "right fit" can be a difficult task. Does your son live on his own, or in a group situation? NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness] may have a chapter near you, that you can contact for information and assistance. Another avenue to look in to is a county or state organization, through their mental health services. Also, autismspeaks.org is a remarkable group of people to help point your son towards a path.

It takes gentle guidance to help someone who is autistic. Oftentimes, there may be additional psychological factors that need a professional's assessment.

I hope this helps you, and please let me know how your son is getting along.
Ginger

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@gingerw thank you for the information. I will contact the organizations for further help. You are right it takes gentle guidance. I notice my son easily gets mad as does the older lady. I am sure it is because they get frustrated. He lives in an apartment on his own. It is difficult for anyone to know he is autistic at first. He signs contracts and often gets himself into trouble as a result. He makes the same mistakes over and over regardless of advice he gets. A few years ago his younger sisters supported the organizations in Tampa where he lives. His sisters helped organizations with events for autistic young adults. They tried many times to invite him to a group that played board games in hopes he could meet other people like him. My son refused. Disclaimed he had any mental issues. His sisters tried to encourage him to attend to play the games. Instead of giving them credit for their good work he would say negative remarks against his sisters. They eventually stopped trying. Well, last year was a difficult year for him to get out of another mess but I am afraid he still has not learned although he says he has. He still carries on the same. Last year, as a result of doing silly things, he got arrested twice. He ended up doing jail time until we(my husband and I) put up bond for him. He was later put on “house arrest” for a few weeks. It scared him at first. We told the officials he had autism although there was no medical proof. So the court officials assigned him to a medical professional who separately interviewed us(his family). It took several months to determine our son was indeed autistic. Our son followed all the court procedures and paid back( monetary) what he owed to the people who had him arrested. He was finally let go in late fall of last year, a total of ten months in dealing with the court system. Actually, this worked out to be a good thing for him. He now gets disability and lives in low income housing. He tried a couple jobs but he couldn’t hang on to them. Needless to say, he was let go after a few months. We drove him to our place and back so he could visit us for Thanksgiving. He used to drive but would often get himself into trouble with vehicle accidents or not being able to do the maintenance on his car due to lack of interest. He uses public transportation now. He continues to do silly things but he is fun to be around. We watch movies with him like Deadpool, Antman, Guardian of the Galaxy, etc. He does funny impressions of actors or characters like Venom. He is a kid at heart and always will be. What can you do but let them have the best life they possibly can. Toni

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@avmcbellar

@gingerw thank you for the information. I will contact the organizations for further help. You are right it takes gentle guidance. I notice my son easily gets mad as does the older lady. I am sure it is because they get frustrated. He lives in an apartment on his own. It is difficult for anyone to know he is autistic at first. He signs contracts and often gets himself into trouble as a result. He makes the same mistakes over and over regardless of advice he gets. A few years ago his younger sisters supported the organizations in Tampa where he lives. His sisters helped organizations with events for autistic young adults. They tried many times to invite him to a group that played board games in hopes he could meet other people like him. My son refused. Disclaimed he had any mental issues. His sisters tried to encourage him to attend to play the games. Instead of giving them credit for their good work he would say negative remarks against his sisters. They eventually stopped trying. Well, last year was a difficult year for him to get out of another mess but I am afraid he still has not learned although he says he has. He still carries on the same. Last year, as a result of doing silly things, he got arrested twice. He ended up doing jail time until we(my husband and I) put up bond for him. He was later put on “house arrest” for a few weeks. It scared him at first. We told the officials he had autism although there was no medical proof. So the court officials assigned him to a medical professional who separately interviewed us(his family). It took several months to determine our son was indeed autistic. Our son followed all the court procedures and paid back( monetary) what he owed to the people who had him arrested. He was finally let go in late fall of last year, a total of ten months in dealing with the court system. Actually, this worked out to be a good thing for him. He now gets disability and lives in low income housing. He tried a couple jobs but he couldn’t hang on to them. Needless to say, he was let go after a few months. We drove him to our place and back so he could visit us for Thanksgiving. He used to drive but would often get himself into trouble with vehicle accidents or not being able to do the maintenance on his car due to lack of interest. He uses public transportation now. He continues to do silly things but he is fun to be around. We watch movies with him like Deadpool, Antman, Guardian of the Galaxy, etc. He does funny impressions of actors or characters like Venom. He is a kid at heart and always will be. What can you do but let them have the best life they possibly can. Toni

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Hello @avmcbellar,

I agree with @gingerw in that you have done a remarkable job being supportive of your son. It sounds like he has been a blessing to you as much as you are to him.

I feel a little concerned that he has, as you said, "signed contracts", etc. Do you currently have guardianship/conservatorship paperwork in place with the local courts? This can be a protective measure to keep him from being part of such contracts/problems. If you don't have such court paperwork in place you might contact an attorney in the area and see what you can do.

Is your son reasonably happy now in his low-income housing and with his life in general?

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@avmcbellar

@gingerw thank you for the information. I will contact the organizations for further help. You are right it takes gentle guidance. I notice my son easily gets mad as does the older lady. I am sure it is because they get frustrated. He lives in an apartment on his own. It is difficult for anyone to know he is autistic at first. He signs contracts and often gets himself into trouble as a result. He makes the same mistakes over and over regardless of advice he gets. A few years ago his younger sisters supported the organizations in Tampa where he lives. His sisters helped organizations with events for autistic young adults. They tried many times to invite him to a group that played board games in hopes he could meet other people like him. My son refused. Disclaimed he had any mental issues. His sisters tried to encourage him to attend to play the games. Instead of giving them credit for their good work he would say negative remarks against his sisters. They eventually stopped trying. Well, last year was a difficult year for him to get out of another mess but I am afraid he still has not learned although he says he has. He still carries on the same. Last year, as a result of doing silly things, he got arrested twice. He ended up doing jail time until we(my husband and I) put up bond for him. He was later put on “house arrest” for a few weeks. It scared him at first. We told the officials he had autism although there was no medical proof. So the court officials assigned him to a medical professional who separately interviewed us(his family). It took several months to determine our son was indeed autistic. Our son followed all the court procedures and paid back( monetary) what he owed to the people who had him arrested. He was finally let go in late fall of last year, a total of ten months in dealing with the court system. Actually, this worked out to be a good thing for him. He now gets disability and lives in low income housing. He tried a couple jobs but he couldn’t hang on to them. Needless to say, he was let go after a few months. We drove him to our place and back so he could visit us for Thanksgiving. He used to drive but would often get himself into trouble with vehicle accidents or not being able to do the maintenance on his car due to lack of interest. He uses public transportation now. He continues to do silly things but he is fun to be around. We watch movies with him like Deadpool, Antman, Guardian of the Galaxy, etc. He does funny impressions of actors or characters like Venom. He is a kid at heart and always will be. What can you do but let them have the best life they possibly can. Toni

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I'm going to weigh in here because, like Teresa suggests, you or his Dad or sisters need to get guardianship or he will continue to get into financial scrapes.

My grand-nephew has Asperger's, and presents in much the way as your son, until you spend some time with him. We firmly believe (though my brother disagrees) that his Mom is on the spectrum as well, as we see many of the same self-defeating behaviors in her. My brother & sister-in-law raised their grandson from age 3, got adult guardianship when he was 19, and he now lives in a group home (his 4th) that suits him well – with 2 other young men like himself as well as 2 who are more severely affected and don't interact much.

Every month or two, he states he is going to court to get emancipated so he can "get his own place." They tell him "Fine, but you must do it completely on your own to show you are ready. By the way, the judge is going to ask you to demonstrate that you can care for yourself and an apartment, handle finances, and keep a job." After a few days, he gives up.

Another nephew, age 36, is not as greatly affected, and has a terrible time keeping a job, but has a great skill (toolmaker) and a Dad with connections in the trade, so he manages with help, to live in his own home. They know he will always need support, so have his brother "waiting in the wings" to take over when they are no longer able.

Like your son, these guys both get serial obsessions with various interests and can become very knowledgeable in a very limited subject and very much fun – until there's a problem. I think back on many of the PhD's I worked with in my career, especially those with VERY narrow fields of interest and limited ability to interact with the world. I wonder how many of them were actually "on the spectrum."

It sounds like you are doing everything you can to support him – thank you!
Sue

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@hopeful33250

Hello @avmcbellar,

I agree with @gingerw in that you have done a remarkable job being supportive of your son. It sounds like he has been a blessing to you as much as you are to him.

I feel a little concerned that he has, as you said, "signed contracts", etc. Do you currently have guardianship/conservatorship paperwork in place with the local courts? This can be a protective measure to keep him from being part of such contracts/problems. If you don't have such court paperwork in place you might contact an attorney in the area and see what you can do.

Is your son reasonably happy now in his low-income housing and with his life in general?

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Thank you Teresa and Ginger. I appreciate your kind words. My husband and I try to help him. The problem is he doesn’t understand to be grateful. Although he says he is he does the same mistakes over and over. We first helped our son when he moved here from Arizona 5 years ago. So I got to learn more about him at first because he lived with us until finding his own apartment 5-6 months later. We learned of the silly things he had done or was doing. People were taking advantage of him. It was difficult to say anything to him because he did not think he had autism. We ended up being the bad guys in trying to help him. We let him be until he got arrested. We once again had him live with us so he could get back on his feet. He had lost his apartment since getting arrested. It left him with no income. He was homeless until he began living with us. He was able to get financial assistance once he was medically determined to be autistic. That was a savior for him. He later got his low income housing. Over the Thanksgiving holiday he told us he plans to move back to Arizona in the summer because he has met a women his age who has a physical disability. He has a long distance relationship with her. She visited him once here in Tampa. He claims they often do dates on Zoom where they watch movies together. No stopping him. We gave him advice but he angrily says it is his decision and he will do it his way. We shall see what he does. I hope people don’t take advantage of him. We told him to be careful and make sure he understands what he signs. If he needs help to ask us. He said yes but does the same each time. A friend once told him to sign a contract saying that his friend was good for a motorcycle loan. That is what our son believed. In turn he had actually signed a contract for purchasing that motorcycle. He was responsible for the loan and motorcycle. While living in Florida, he got several calls and notices that he was delinquent on his payments. Apparently his friend stopped paying on the loan. What a mess! Our son knew nothing of what was happening. I’m afraid there is not much we can do. He is not accepting of a guardian. Besides we cannot be around forever to care for him. Toni

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@avmcbellar

Thank you Teresa and Ginger. I appreciate your kind words. My husband and I try to help him. The problem is he doesn’t understand to be grateful. Although he says he is he does the same mistakes over and over. We first helped our son when he moved here from Arizona 5 years ago. So I got to learn more about him at first because he lived with us until finding his own apartment 5-6 months later. We learned of the silly things he had done or was doing. People were taking advantage of him. It was difficult to say anything to him because he did not think he had autism. We ended up being the bad guys in trying to help him. We let him be until he got arrested. We once again had him live with us so he could get back on his feet. He had lost his apartment since getting arrested. It left him with no income. He was homeless until he began living with us. He was able to get financial assistance once he was medically determined to be autistic. That was a savior for him. He later got his low income housing. Over the Thanksgiving holiday he told us he plans to move back to Arizona in the summer because he has met a women his age who has a physical disability. He has a long distance relationship with her. She visited him once here in Tampa. He claims they often do dates on Zoom where they watch movies together. No stopping him. We gave him advice but he angrily says it is his decision and he will do it his way. We shall see what he does. I hope people don’t take advantage of him. We told him to be careful and make sure he understands what he signs. If he needs help to ask us. He said yes but does the same each time. A friend once told him to sign a contract saying that his friend was good for a motorcycle loan. That is what our son believed. In turn he had actually signed a contract for purchasing that motorcycle. He was responsible for the loan and motorcycle. While living in Florida, he got several calls and notices that he was delinquent on his payments. Apparently his friend stopped paying on the loan. What a mess! Our son knew nothing of what was happening. I’m afraid there is not much we can do. He is not accepting of a guardian. Besides we cannot be around forever to care for him. Toni

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@avmcbellar The comment by @hopeful33250 Teresa was a great idea. May I suggest that you contact the Public Guardian's Office in your county in Florida. They may be able to give you some direction if you want to be your son's conservator over finances and health decisions. Has he had a formal diagnosis now of his level of autism, seeing he is receiving benefits? If so, even if he does not want your assistance, you may have some influence over his decisions. Summer is a long way aways, and his mind may change before then regarding a move. If there is someone close to him, not a family member, or someone who he listens to, they may be able to make inroads on your behalf regarding him agreeing to have you help him. Otherwise, you may run the risk of alienating him or having him do something out of spite.
Ginger

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Hi Sue @sueinmn Thank you for your input. Our son is 33. It is amazing how these kids slip through the cracks in our society and don’t get the help they need. I think it is the parents mostly to blame as in this case. His mom is on the spectrum as well. The dad did notice something was wrong as the son was growing up. I believe the mother refused to have him assessed because it would uncover her mental disability. She had said the reason was because she did not want her son labeled. She continues to struggle in life and yet refuses any help. Her obsession is her religion. In conversation she makes many references to the Bible. She is similar to the mom character in the TV series “Young Sheldon”. Her son avoided any help during his high school years. By age 18 he was an adult so not much could be done when he didn’t believe he had a mental disability. He struggled all his life but somehow managed to get through. At least now with disability he has income and not have to struggle with keeping another job. We will wait to see what he chooses to do as far as moving. If he moves not sure what we can do to help with guardianship. He does not tell us with what is going on his life as it is. We find out things by asking the right questions. He has a tendency to keep things from us. We pretty much keep low key to give him his independence. In the past if anyone made a remark he didn’t like he would dislike them, make negative statements against them. He watches shows or movies constantly on his phone. I am sure he did this during work hours. He had nothing good to say about all his bosses. They probably gave him direction or guidance but he took it in a negative way instead of it being helpful to him. Thank you for all your help. Any suggestions or comments are appreciated. Toni

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