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Resource Center

The ASERT Resource Center serves as Pennsylvania’s leading source for up-to-date and accurate information and resources for individuals with autism, their families, the community and the professionals who support them. Contact the ASERT resource center to speak with a resource specialist who can help you learn how to discover and access resources in Pennsylvania.

When should I contact the Resource Center?

If you have additional questions about information you found on PAautism.org or would like to invite an outreach specialist to attend an event, conference, or support group, someone at the resource center can assist you.

Be sure to visit the following pages below here on PAautism.org to find helpful information. If you still have additional questions, contact the Resource Center.

By phone
1-877-231-4244

Are you located outside of Pennsylvania?
The ASERT resource center is focused on specific resources in Pennsylvania. If you are in another state, the resources specialists will not be able to help you. Please visit the resources section of PAautism.org, as some of the online resources may be applicable to residents of other states.

           

Ask an Expert: Employment

To celebrate Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month, ASERT is highlighting important topics each week through data facts, resources and information. In this accompanying series, we ask different experts in the field of autism to answer questions on the weekly topic. The first week's topic is Employment. 

Our expert this week is Brandon Yorty who is the Director of Adult Employment at Vista Adult Services.  Mr. Yorty is a board certified behavior analyst and a licensed behavior consultant in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Q: Am I able to get and sustain a job? What about my disability?

A: Everyone is capable of working with no exceptions.  There are rare times in any person's life where work may not be possible.  Having lost a loved one, relocating to a new city or treating a major medical condition are examples of circumstances that may put working on hold for a period of time.  However, those are but a few examples of what may limit one from working at any given point in time.  The fact one has a diagnosed disability DOES NOT exclude the individual from being capable of working.  Each person has rare interests and abilities that would benefit an employer.  The question is not "can I work" but rather "where should I work" such that those skills are put to use!

Q: What value will I find in getting a job?  Why would I want to work? 

A: Work is often perceived to be a "responsibility" or "requirement."  What many fail to see is how it is actually a "privilege."  Consider what two new acquainted people most commonly find themselves discussing.  A question such as "what do you do for a living" is sure to come up.  The reason this occurs is we take pride in what we do and the fact we are better at it than those who do not have the skill or experience.  Our job helps us form an identity and with that comes self esteem, self-awareness and increased confidence.  Combined with new social opportunities that result from going to work and the earning of an income and benefits, work is absolutely a privilege. 

Q: How do I determine what would be a good job for me?  What should I consider? 

A: The best jobs are those that have environments that match our preferences.  Some important questions to reflect upon when considering a prospective employment opportunity include:

    1. What time of day am I most productive?  Am I an early riser or do I consider myself a night owl?

    2. What type of people do I like to be around?  Do I respond best to a boss that is firm and directive or more laid               back and flexible?

    3. What physical conditions do I prefer?  Do I overheat quickly or find myself often cold?  Am I OK with getting                 dirty.  What stimuli bother me?

    4. What tasks do I find enjoyable and barely consider work?  What "demands" will I perceive as fun and a privilege           to be paid to complete? 

Q: Who is hiring?  What types of industries could I work for? How do I get started? 

A: Nearly every business is hiring at any given time.  The labor force is full of opportunities across numerous industries.  There are traditional ways of learning about what types of companies are looking for new employees including Internet searches or creating an account on programs such as Indeed.  It is absolutely acceptable to just walk into a company and ask for a hiring manager to learn if there are any immediate openings.  These are all called cold calls meaning you are reaching out to businesses without having an internal contact.  Social mapping is a strategy that yields greater results identifying who you or someone you are familiar with may know within the business that increases your likelihood of being interviewed and hired.  Having strong social connections is a huge asset when it comes to finding a job.  Volunteering your time or joining a club are great ways to meet people and establish a social contact that may lead to an employment opportunity or personal reference.

Q: Are there supports to assist me in getting a job?  What is I need help at work?  Is it important that I disclose my disability? 

A: For those who need extra help getting connected to a business, there are various government funding streams available through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Department of Human Services that can assist with finding and sustaining a job.  Job coaches can be contracted, trained to assess the personal preferences and skills of individuals and match to companies that have comparable needs.  Customized Employment is a specialty of which some job coaches are educated that focuses on the creation of new jobs through job sharing or job carving that results in a win for both the prospective employee and the company.  Discovery is an assessment process of which some job coaches are familiar that enables the prospective employee to trial various industries and types of jobs to have more information about one's preferences before seeking employment.   


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