One of the most important transitions in everyone’s life is from school to work. During their time at school or university, many people lead a sheltered life and receive financial and other support from their parents. After graduation, these ties are often severed, leaving recent graduates to fend for themselves. Such a transition is frightening for anyone, but even more so for someone with autism. As school is a time to learn to live with peers in a controlled environment, the world of work is a challenging concept for people with autism, who often have to deal with new situations on a daily basis, rather than the comfort of a fixed life situation.
One of the most important things that autistic graduates need to learn is how to interact with people in the business world. This includes proper personal hygiene, which may not have played such a big role in high school or college. Proper personal hygiene, such as brushing teeth, dressing properly, using deodorant and brushing hair, is probably natural for most people, but an autistic person needs help with these tasks – they may not realise that they are behaving inappropriately. At this stage in life, many people with autism who have been schooled have reached a level of maturity that allows them to complete tasks without difficulty and avoid outbursts of anger in most situations. It has even been shown that some people with autism do very well in areas such as mathematics or music. Mastering a new activity in the working world is not a problem, but a relationship problem with others in a social situation.
These relationship problems unfortunately also contribute to people taking advantage of people with autism. Most people with autism believe that all people are like them and are inherently good. In business, it is unfortunately common to encounter companies and business people who behave unethically. This often comes as a shock to autistic people, who do not know how to act in such a situation. Other employees may also not be able to cope with autism, leading to poor employee relations. When an employer hires a person with autism, they should not only train them in their new job, but also instruct other employees who will have to work with them. Intolerance in the workplace is common and people with autism need to be prepared for this.
In general, it is important for people with autism to know that there will be a big change between life in high school or college and life in the working world. It may be very helpful for these