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When it comes to autism and employment, the obstacles are quite apparent. For many individuals with autism, getting a job they enjoy can be challenging, and keeping one can be even more challenging. Fortunately, many resources are available, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is one of the more popular ones.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is vocational rehabilitation
- How VR helps individuals with autism
- Resources to help you get started with vocational rehabilitation services
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federally funded program designed to help individuals with disabilities secure employment.
- The program serves individuals with physical and mental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum.
- The program enables individuals with disabilities to access the necessary support services to find and keep a job.
- These support services can range from job search assistance to training, assistive devices, and more.
How Can Vocational Rehabilitation Help Individuals with Autism?
For individuals with autism, the support services that come with vocational rehabilitation can prove particularly helpful. A diagnosis of autism can present a host of challenges related to job search and retention. For example, social interactions can be more challenging for individuals with autism, making networking difficult. Similarly, sensory challenges can make specific job environments unbearable, leading to job loss. VR programs can help individuals with autism overcome these challenges and provide resources to help them succeed in the workplace.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Vocational rehabilitation services are designed to help individuals with disabilities acquire new skills and get employment. The services available through VR vary depending on the state you reside in, and each VR program is unique. Click here to find your state vocational rehabilitation office.
Services that a VR program may offer include:
- job search assistance
- job coaching
- job placement services
- education and training
- assistive technology devices
- independent living training
Getting Started with VR Services
To access vocational rehabilitation services, individuals on the autism spectrum typically need a referral through one of three ways.
- Firstly, individuals can self-refer, meaning they contact their state’s VR program directly.
- Secondly, health and mental health professionals can refer individuals for vocational rehabilitation services.
- Alternatively, third-party organizations, such as schools and community-based organizations, can make referrals on behalf of the individual.
Above all, vocational rehabilitation has much to offer individuals with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. It can help these individuals overcome some of the employment-related challenges they might face and help them access necessary support services to succeed in the workplace. If you’re a caregiver or an individual with autism, it’s worth looking into vocational rehabilitation services to help you or others on the spectrum achieve employment success. Remember, each VR program is unique, and the services offered will depend on the state and the individual’s needs. With the right vocational rehabilitation program, individuals with autism can succeed in the workplace.