“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, Former 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.
Another infomation blog is Am I Autistic? A Guide to Diagnosis for Adults from Autism Awareness Center (2020) and Reasons Autism Self- diagnosis is Valid
Once you have your diagnosis, there might be funding options available to you. You can learn more about those here as well as Next Steps after Your Adult Autism Diagnosis.
Employment seekers on the autism spectrum have a variety of programs and resources to help them find a rewarding position. These are some of the options:
- Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) 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
- Easter Seals Compass Program (transitioning to work, adulthood, independent living)
- Canucks Autism: Skills Training Employment Program
- Pacific Autism Family Network’s Adult Employment Programs
- BC WiN “is an innovative recruitment approach helping BC employers meet workforce needs and connecting people with disabilities / diverse abilities to employment.
- Orbital Learning’s Employment Retention Training and Assessment (ERTA) Program, watch our AutismBC Talks with Heather Linka from Orbital Learning regarding the ERTA Program:
- WorkBC’s People with Disabilities Program
- YMCA Employment Services
- 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).
- Aide Canada Beginning the Work Experience Journey Parent Guide
- Aide Canada Job Coaching Toolkit
- Auticon – Autistic-led IT Consultant Employer
- Laurel/Posabilities Employment Service
- Douglas College Online Employment Skills Program – IN Demand
- 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.
- Open Door Group
- Entrepreneur Development Program Provides opportunities for entrepreneurs with disabilities
- Kootenay Career Development Society
- Aide Canada: Can I Ask For Accommodation at Work?
- CMHA Links to Employment
Created by Square Peg Society, the following video is a great overview of the different Inclusive Employment Programs as mentioned above:
Are you an employer looking to increase the diversity of your workplace? We have resources for you too!
- InclusionBC’s resources for employers for the RWA program
- Accessible Employers – A Presidents Group Initiative – A resource for employers to receive free training about making their work place inclusive, members who commit to inclusive hiring are listed.
- BC Human Rights Commissioner – Employment Equity Toolkit
- 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).
- CAN Ready, Willing & Able Information for Employers (Lower Mainland & Kelowna
- AutismBC Connects with Brody from Meridian Farm Market (the BC Autism Awards Inclusive Employer Winner, 2019) on inclusive employment
- Canada Needs Workers so Why Aren’t More Companies Hiring the Neurodivergent? – CBC News, 2022
- Supporting Autistic People in the Workplace (Autism Awareness Centre, 2022).
- Autism Spectrum (askjan.org) – Workplace Accommodations List for Autistic Employees
- AutismBC Blog: 10 Ways to Better Support Autistic Employees
- 5 Ways to Support Neurodiversity in the Workplace
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
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.
Student Aid BC – Resource Directory
Severe and Permanent Disability Benefit (applies to Student Loans)
Student Aid BC Assistance Program for Students with Permanent Disabilities
BC Access Grant for students with permanent disabilities
Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities
Funding Options for Students with Mental Illness
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. (Douglas College, 2021).
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).
Open Door Group – Open Door Group is a CARF-accredited, not-for-profit organization and registered charity providing employment services to thousands of individuals a year, in six locations – including Vancouver, Sechelt, Squamish, Kelowna, Kamloops and Chase. We work with all individuals who are interested in preparing for, finding, and keeping meaningful employment.
Entrepreneur Development Program Provides opportunities for entrepreneurs with disabilities.
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. (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.).
Selkirk College Acccesibility Services
Selkirk College SOAR Program – Steps to Opportunities, Academics and Readiness
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.
Aide Canada: Post Secondary Education Programs for Individuals with Autism or Intellectual Disabilities
AutismBC Blog: 7 Tips for Post Secondary Success
Autistic Adulting: Transition into Post Secondary with Evan Noble
ACT – Post Secondary Opportunities
Grants, Scholarships, and Other Financial Supports
Age Limit On Free Tuition For Those Who Were Once in Care is Lifted – BC is getting rid of the age limit on the tuition waiver for those who were in foster care or in care in a staffed home in the province.
Aide Canada Peer Mentoring not available in BC at this time
Autism BC Getting Together on the Spectrum Autistic Adult Meet-Up Group
Autism Okanagan – Youth & Adult Program – Kelowna
Canucks Autism Network Adult Programs
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.
Employment Program and Community supports for Youth and Adults on the Spectrum
Ready, Willing, and Able Employment Program and Community supports for Youth and Adults on the Spectrum Sarah Armstrong of Canucks Autism Network will be speaking about employment supports for youth and adults on the spectrum as well as the range of other youth and adult programs being offered by the Canucks Autism Network during this time. Sarah Armstrong is the Navigator of Youth and Adult Services with the Canucks Autism Network. In her role, Sarah helps to facilitate the Ready, Willing, and Able program, a national initiative funded by the Government of Canada, to increase the labour force participation of people with autism and intellectual Disabilities. Sarah seeks to connect adolescents, young adults and adults on the Autism Spectrum to supports and services in their community with the aim of assisting individuals in obtaining employment.
Inclusive Hiring and Employment for Autistic Community Members
Live with Heather, Program Manager for Retention with Orbital Learning. Join us in learning about #InclusiveHiring and #InclusiveEmployment for Autistic Community Members. Orbital Learning is AutismBC’s partner for the Employment Retention Training and Assessment (ERTA) Program, which provides participants with the confidence and skills they need to retain employment in a business professional environment.
Inclusive Employment Initiatives
Everyone has had to adapt their programs and practices in light of COVID. More than ever, ASD job seekers require support seeking employment, accessing jobs, and networking with employers. This meeting is to bring you up to date with changes and innovations in Inclusive Employment efforts.
AutismBC Connects with Brody from Meridian Meats & Meridian Farm Market on Inclusive Hiring
The Inclusive Employer of the Year knows that everyone has something to contribute to the community and work with individuals from all walks of life to showcase how our differences can build a stronger team. They are an ally and they are a hero in our eyes!
Inclusive Employment with ICBC
AutismBC Talks with Susanna and Swami from ICBC. Find out more about ICBC’s inclusive employment initiative, what it’s like to work in a tech team as a person with diversabilities, their partnership with Focus, a neurodiversity talent agency, and what they've learned about autism and employing people on the autism spectrum since they started.
Transition into Post-Secondary with Evan Noble
My name is Evan Noble, and I am 22 years old. This past June (2019) I received my Computer Information Systems diploma from Okanagan College. […]
Band 13th Floor’s Journey on Employment and Adulting
You may remember 13th Floor from their amazing performance at the 2020 BC Autism Awards show. In between gigs and band practices, band members Adam, […]
Autism Diagnosis for Adults
Currently, in BC, there are no publicly funded systems for adults that are specifically designed to diagnose autism. So finding an appropriate pathway to support can be challenging.