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, Program Ambassador, 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).
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).
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).
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).
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)”.