#HireAutisticAdults: Keep Us Engaged

As we know, Autism is a spectrum disorder, with 1/3 according to the CDC being categorized as Developmentally Disabled, however for the remaining 2/3 of the country’s autistic population lies a sea of untapped potential that would make them great candidates in a field of employment. In recent years, there have been a number of initiatives to hire autistic adults as they age out of high school, because they oftentimes need a solid day of structured activity. This doesn’t mean that they are meaningless people. It’s just that they need to put their creative juices to work.

It is known that many autistics have a great attention to detail and that by keeping their brain occupied sometimes by maintaining other needs like noise canceling headphones, they are able to process information that may otherwise seem meaningless to the neurotypical individual. We need to think and process our brains in order to give them a workout with whatever that may be. Sometimes, I at least think that things become meaningless, then after I spend some time alone, I realize that I need to do something to process my brain. As COVID settles for now, I would like to return to the community to process my brain to do something within that time and have a focus, yet I realize that the day program that I have called home for nearly 15 years this month still calls my name. Alongside and hand in hand with my employment, which has become beneficial too, although at time it can be difficult to see. It fulfills my mind in a otherwise world that I would become a potato.

I have realized this in recent weeks as I have been home more and haven’t been as active as I need to be. I have gained weight and I know if I keep the trend up, that it will continue to grow back to where I was. Yes, I had setback and sort of knocked myself down, but what I realize is that I need to pick myself and the pieces that I damaged up and move back on the progress wagon that I was on. There is no reason to continue to stay in the house all day if it makes me feel nothing but miserable and down and out. There are times I become frustrated with how things operate at the places I go. You will have that everywhere; I need to accept that life can be calculated in the order that I would like it to be. The world just isn’t mine to have, everyone should be equal in that process too. Yes, things won’t go your way at times, but you have to be willing to be flexible as needed and be willing to adapt to things that are beyond your control. This is easier said than done for sure. However, those that are supporting you will at one instance or another will be glad that you coped so well and were willing to adapt to something you didn’t feel comfortable with or wasn’t the way you liked.

Probably one of the reasons I have been at the same place for as long as I have been is that I don’t like change. Although the facility where services were provided was moved once in the 17 years I was there and my place of employment was moved twice, they were good moves and usually for the better and were beneficial to these services being provided to me (they all have had their benefits and drawbacks of doing such.) The longer I was clamped to one place, it wasn’t easier to make the move to the new place, but once I got settled in and found my place, I did fairly OK for the most part.

Once an autistic person hits the peruviol cliff after ending their time at school, they must be on the prowl for things to entertain their mindset, whether that is a day program, supports and employment or post-secondary training. It isn’t good to navigate after years of routine to navigate to the unentertaining couch of sitting all day and doing nothing. Yes, I understand not everyone can work or have the capabilities to do so, but it must be that the autistic mind is to be kept engaged in some fashion in order to prevent decay to it or severe instances of regression from not keeping the skills as alert as they need to be.

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