Entering into adulthood can be a confusing thing, especially for autistic individuals. Whether you are transitioning from children’s services or just got a new diagnosis as an adult, navigating the system and exploring available options can be overwhelming.
“At first, it feels like you have so much to learn and so little time to learn it. There is so much information out there about autism. It can be difficult to know what information applies to and is helpful for you.” —Jake Anthony, Content Collaborator, AutismBC.
We have listened to our members and understand that it’s not easy to access adult supports and services, so we have compiled a list of helpful resources and divided them into three frequently requested topics: diagnosis, employment and volunteering, post-secondary education, and housing.
If you’re looking for an adult assessment, you will, unfortunately, need to find a private assessment. Our ASD Diagnosis for Adults blog is full of great, up-to-date resources.
Once you have your diagnosis, there might be funding options available to you. You can learn more about those here.
Employment and Volunteering
Employment seekers on the autism spectrum have a variety of programs to help them find a rewarding position. These are some of our favourites:
Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) is a national partnership of Inclusion Canada (formerly the Canadian Association for Community Living), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA), and their member organizations. Funded by the Government of Canada and active in 20 communities across the country, RWA is designed to increase the labour force participation of people with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (2015).” Check out our AutismBC Talks with Sarah Armstrong from Canucks Autism Network regarding the RWA program
BC WiN “is an innovative recruitment approach helping BC employers meet workforce needs and connecting people with disabilities / diverse abilities to employment. For the past eight years, BC WiN has been recruiting for employers who are intentional about their inclusive hiring commitments. They have many job openings that are going unfilled, yet we know there are people with disabilities in BC who would thrive in these well paying, career-oriented opportunities” (BC WiN, 2021).
Work-Able – Work-Able is a 12-month paid internship with the BC Public Service for recent (within the last 3 years) post-secondary graduates who self-identify as having a disability.
BC Centre for Abilities – Opportunities Fund “A program that assists persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. It provides financial assistance for training, self-employment and wage-subsidized employment and adaptive equipment (2022).
https://ca.specialisterne.com/ – “Specialisterne Canada, a non-profit social enterprise that works with employers to help them hire people on the autism spectrum and other neurodiversities. We are part of a global organisation with the goal of enabling 1 million jobs through recruitment innovation, corporate sector engagement and awareness building” (2022).
Foundry Works “Foundry Works is a free supported employment and education program if you are interested in working, going to school, or completing a training program. Foundry Works helps you build the skills and experiences you need to achieve your goals,” (Foundry, n.d).
CIRCA UBC Professional Development online learning module in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Neurodiversity for professionals in, Human Resources and Business(updated with a new module for employers Nov 2021).
AutismBC Connects with Brody from Meridian Farm Market (the BC Autism Awards Inclusive Employer Winner, 2019) on inclusive employment
AutismBC Talks with ICBC about inclusive employment
Housing is a huge topic, so we created an entire blog all about it! You can check it out here.
Post Secondary Information
Most Post Secondary Institutions have accessibility/disability departments that can provide additional supports to a student with a diagnosis. However, it is important to research the school to find out if an updated psychoeducational assessment is required in order to qualify for these services.
What is a Psychoeducational Assessment?
“A psycho-educational or educational assessment is simply one kind of psychological assessment. For example, an educational assessment investigates learning potential and academic skill development. A psychological assessment of any kind must be completed by a licensed psychologist or psychological associate who is registered with the College of Psychologists in their province,” (Toronto Psychological Services, n.d).
Adult Special Education (ASE) programs respond to the needs of a diverse group of learners. 15 BC post-secondary institutions offer ASE courses and programs.
Douglas College Autism CanTech (ACT) Program An innovative program for Autistic youth between the ages of 18-30 who want to work in the computer and technology sectors. The fully federally funded program includes one semester of course work at the Douglas College New Westminster campus to prepare participants for a two-month work experience upon course completion. A chance to experience college life and make new friends, all while training for a new career (Douglas College, 2021).
KPU Adult Special Education –This program is designed for students with diverse learning needs that hinder educational success. The EACS courses and learning experiences will prepare students for lifelong learning, employment, and community engagement opportunities. Students will participate in hands-on learning and work experience opportunities (Kwantlen Polytechnic University 2022).
Selkirk College – College Success – “a free workshop recommended for all students entering college programs and cover topics such as goal setting, motivation, memorization techniques,” (Selkirk College, n.d.).
Aide Canada Autism Campus Prep (Free) Covers the topics of:selecting academic programs, understanding how to fully participate in work/social life on campus, and maintaining health and wellness. Autism Campus Prep was written and developed by a group of autistic post-secondary students and graduates together with The Sinneave Family Foundation.
PEERS Program“A social skills intervention program for motivated adults who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session, young adults are taught important skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session during socialization activities” (2022)”.
Laurel/Posabilities – Various programs for adults that include social groups, sexuality and relationship learning and behaviour supports.