Strengthening Employment Opportunities for Autistic People

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A presentation at the Dharma Bums Brownbag sponsored by the Adult Education and Workforce Education & Development academic program at Penn State University Scott Michael Robertson, MHCI Ph.D. Candidate (ABD), Information Sciences and Technology | Co-Founder & Vice Chair, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) Council Member, Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council Member, U.S. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

Text of Strengthening Employment Opportunities for Autistic People

  • 1. Strengthening Employment Opportunities forAutistic PeopleDharma Bums Brownbag | Jan. 18, 2013Scott Michael Robertson, MHCIPh.D. Candidate (ABD), Information Sciences and | srobertson@autisticadvocacy.orgCo-Founder & Vice Chair, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network(ASAN)Council Member, Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities CouncilMember, U.S. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

2. Can you name this event? 3. Lives Worth Living Documentary that aired on PBS Independent Lens series inFall & Winter 2011 Chronicles the history of the disability rights movement from the1960s through the 1990s Profiles the work of several key disability rights leaders (e.g.,Judy Heumann, Ed Roberts, Justin Dart, Fred Fay, JudiChamberlain, Patrisha Wright, Bob Kafka, Michael Winter, etc.) Trailer: Story Line Pictures (the film maker) is selling a DVD for $15 atminimizes barriers, challenges, difficulties LF->minimizes gifts, talents, abilities 6. Grading People video produced by an autistic rights advocate to highlight problems w/ the usage of the terms high functioning and low-functioning to grade autistic adults & youthDescribes broader history of grading people w/ disabilities (including usage to characterize people w/ intellectual & developmental disabilities) 7. Two New Natl. Centers on Employmentfor People w/ DisabilitiesFunded by grants from the U.S. Department of Labors Office for Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)ASAN serves as a partner and sub-grantee on both grants1. National Disability Institutes National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAP)2. RESNAs Accessible Technology Action Center (ATEC) 8. 1. National Disability InstitutesLEAP CenterConducts policy and research initiatives to improve employment outcomes for job seekers with disabilitiesTranslates emerging and successful employment solutions identified through demonstration projects and research into policy and practiceAssists ODEPs work to encourage innovative practices and facilitate their implementation at the workforce system and individual levels 9. 2. RESNAs ATEC CenterFacilitates and promotes use of accessible technologies to hire, employ, retain, and advance career opportunities of people with disabilitiesPromotes knowledge, technical skills, tools, and leadership issues to address accessibility issuesSeeks to expand access to information and communication technologies used by people with disabilities in the workplaceRaises awareness of the impact that critical accessible workplace technologies have on competitive employment opportunities 10. New Book on Employment forAutistic People Under DevelopmentASAN plans to publish in 2013 a new book on employment for autistic adultsThe new book will carry the title of An Autistic View of Employment 11. ASANs Technical Assistance onEmploymentASAN provides technical assistance to companies to help them hire autistic employeesSince 2011, ASAN has partnered with Freddie Mac to help them hire autistic internsASAN has begun to forge ties with other companies on how to hire and support autistic employees 12. Improving Self-Determination forPeople with DisabilitiesResearch has shown that self-determined people withintellectual and developmental disabilities fair better inintegrated employment. They earn better wages and haveaccess to greater work hours.How can we improve the self-determination of autisticyouth and adults living here in the State College area?How can we improve the self-determination of autisticyouth and adults living in other areas? 13. Postsecondary Transition forYouth and Adults with DisabilitiesThe Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of2004 mandates that students with disabilities receiveappropriate services to plan for postsecondary transitionstarting at age 16 or younger. (PA has a mandatory startingage of 14.) Recent research reports by the Institute forEducational Science indicate that transition services havenot effectively improved employment outcomes for peoplewith disabilities.How can we bolster our transition services to improveemployment outcomes for autistic adults here in StateCollege and in other places?What new ideas should we consider to improvetransition for autistic adults? 14. Assistive Technologies to EnhanceEmployment OutcomesPeople with disabilities who have access to needed low-techand high-tech assistive technologies (AT) fare better in lifeoutcomes. They experience greater access to communityliving, higher education, and employment.How can we improve access to and usage of AT (low-techand high-tech) by autistic adults?What AT can we employ to strengthen access to integratedemployment for autistic people?What new possibilities should we consider when we thinkof autistic adults use of low-tech and high-tech AT?