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11 Helpful Resources for Autism Employment

How do we as parents start to navigate autism employment? Leaving school can be challenging and scary for neurotypical students, no matter what journey they have planned ahead. But for neurodiverse students, without the routine and support at school the gap between tomorrow and somewhere in the future after Year 12, can be a fear so intense it can become overwhelming! This article has been designed to help parents with autistic teens understand what those options might be to support and assist them make plans for after they leave school.

It’s important to keep the momentum going because when teens leave school, they’re used to a routine and structure, with something to do every day (even when they don’t like it).  So don’t let them sit at home for too long without having a plan in place because it’s scary and can be depressing. When they first leave school they’re still full of hope and optimistic – make sure you use that window – and mind the gap!

Is your teen thinking about further education? Or looking for a job? Or are they just relieved to finish school and can’t think about any else at this point? As parents, we’re always looking for resources and where to go for information.  You can try some of these to help with planning in that post school gap:

Education and Work Resources

  • Disability Employment Services (DES) – If you have a disability, a DES provider can support you to get job ready, look for   and find a job. DES providers can help you get ready for work, train in specific   job skills, write your resume, learn interview skills and look for jobs that suit   you. If you already have a job, a DES provider can help you with specific on-the-job training and support to suit your needs. 
  • School Leaver Employment Supports program (SLES) – Through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), students can access School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) to help them get ready for work and plan a pathway to employment. 
  • Traineeships and apprenticeships (DAAWS) – Students with disability wanting to pursue a traineeship or apprenticeship can access mentoring and additional support through the DAAWS program.
  • Job Access (DES) – If your child is searching for employment, Disability Employment Services can provide support to get ready for work. (You will need a written diagnosis.)
  • myWAY Employability – A smart web platform to assist young autistic people plan and prepare for work.
  • Australian Disability Enterprises – Provides supported employment opportunities to people with disability  by assisting with gaining experience and training to enable access into employment. (This is not open to those currently on the NDIS.)
  • Leaving school and career planning (students with disability) – Providing information and support for leaving school and career planning for students with a disability. (For those based in Victoria.)
  • Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) – Students with disabilities who are wanting to go on further education can access a wealth of information, resources and practical worksheets to help plan for the transition to further education.
  • Get Ready for Study and Work – This resource features 10 top tips for young people with disability who are leaving school and going onto work and study. In particular it aims to inform parents so they can help their young person with disability to make a successful transition from school into further study or work.

There are other options that could be a great way for your autistic teen to build confidence, develop skills and explore new things that will help them (and you) see what sort of job they might like to pursue, as well as identify the types of support or adjustments they may need at work.

Work Experience & Volunteering
  • Short-term work placements – Early experience in industry can offer a taste of their future world of work and help your child decide whether a particular job is right for them. Find tips on short-term work placements at School Leavers Support.
  • Volunteering opportunities – Volunteering offers the chance to not only make a difference through assisting others but it can also help your child to build valuable skills for the future. In the ACT you can check out what’s available at Volunteering ACT.
  • NDIS Social Activities – It is important to remember social and community participation is about doing the things you want as part of everyday life. These are activities you do for fun and can help your health and wellbeing.

Leaving school can sometimes be challenging. It’s completely normal to feel this way and Parents don’t have to work everything out by themselves! There are plenty of people you and your teens can talk to – someone ‘in the know’, such as a wellbeing teacher, the school careers counsellor, your NDIS support coordinator or a mental health professional.  Ask for their advice and suggestions that can help support you and your teen through this tricky time, so you can Mind the Gap.


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