As your child ages, you may begin wondering when to start focusing on vocational skills. Throughout your child’s experience with ABA, the goal will be to support the development of independent skills that are appropriate for that individual. As learners mature and develop, goal setting is an opportune time to consider life and vocational skills. Related to these, one goal might be to achieve financial independence or to pursue a more meaningful life. To do this, many adults choose to enter the workforce. Individuals with autism have the same desires with more and more people choosing to go to college or pursue careers that fit their interests and abilities!
In order to be successful in a job setting, certain skills are necessary to navigate the social and technical complexities that come with a workplace. While traditionally vocational skills are addressed in a special education environment, did you know that many of those skills can also be worked on in an ABA program?
How ABA can work on vocational skills
Applied Behavior Analysis uses evidence-based practice to help learners acquire new skills that help them successfully navigate the world. This can include pre-vocational and vocational skills.
Before an individual starts working on these skills, some foundational pre-vocational skills will need to be learned first. Learning to tolerate work sessions for a certain amount of time, sorting and counting, following a checklist, and learning to write your name are all examples of pre-vocational skills. While these skills are typically acquired at a younger age, it’s never too late to start working on these valuable pre-requisites.
When a learner is nearing transition age their goals may begin to focus on the hard and soft skills necessary in a post-secondary or workplace environment. These targeted skills can include:
- Having back-and-forth conversations with a customer
- Practicing good personal hygiene and understanding work-appropriate attire
- Time management so you arrive at work or class on time
- Counting money if you work in retail or banking
- Resume development
- How to interview for a job
Vocational Training Organizations
In addition to ABA programs, many communities have specialized programs that can support employment success for individuals with autism and other disabilities. Check out the following organizations in an area near you!
- Texas Workforce Commission
- Austin Community College Steps Program
- Bee Social Network “Adulting” Classes