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Resource Guide

Autistic Adulting

January 3rd, 2021

AutismBC

For Autistics, Employers

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.

We have listened to our members and understand that it’s not easy to access adult support 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. 

Adult Autism Assessment and Diagnosis

If you’re looking for an adult assessment, you will, unfortunately, need to find a private assessment. Our Autism Diagnosis for Adults blog is full of great, up-to-date resources.

Another information 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, you may have funding options available to you that you can read about here. Our  Next steps after You Adult Autism Diagnosis is also a great resource if you have been recently diagnosed.    

Employment and Volunteering – Programs for Job Seekers 

Employment seekers on the autism spectrum have a variety of programs and resources to help them find rewarding positions. These are some of the options:

  • Auticon —  Autistic-led IT Consultant Employer. Since 2011, we have partnered with clients looking for neurodiverse workers. Our depth of experience working with and supporting autistic colleagues gives employers the skills and confidence to create neuroinclusive workplaces.
  • CanAssist – University of Victoria Employment Program —  Job Journey serves job seekers aged 15+ who self-identify as having a disability and/or mental health barrier to employment. They are dedicated to helping people with disabilities improve their quality of life with a focus on promoting independence and inclusion.    

  • CAN WiN — “is an innovative recruitment approach helping BC employers meet workforce needs and connecting people with disabilities / diverse abilities to employment.
  • Compass Program — by Easter Seals, Compass classes are offered online by Easter Seals staff, specialized educators, and guest speakers. By the end of the program, participants will be more prepared for school, work, independent living, and their transition to adulthood, and be ready to take their next steps whether that be training, further education, GED preparation, or employment. Areas of focus can be adapted on a case-by-case basis according to the needs and abilities of the group members.   

  • Community Living BC – Supports to participate in your communityIf you are eligible for CLBC supports or are changing existing supports, a CLBC facilitator will talk about different supports to participate in your community such as employment, job training and volunteer programs. Not all supports will be available in every community. There are four types of funded supports to help you participate in your community in ways that are meaningful to you: Employment, L.I.F.E. – Learning, Inclusion, Friendship and Employment ,Learning ,Community inclusion (CLBC 2024) 

  • Employment WorksEmployment Works (EW) Canada is a 12-week pre-vocational program focused on skills-based experiential learning. EmploymentWorks (EW) is a 12-week program that offers employment preparedness training and support to autistic adults and persons with disabilities. The program is designed for individuals who want to enter or return to the workforce, and who are willing to develop and practice the skills needed to support employment success. Classes run in Richmond Tuesdays from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM, spanning a comprehensive 12-week program. Additional job shadows every Wednesday, taking place from 10 AM to 12:30 PM. Note there is no work placement or job coaching after the course.
  • Jobs West — Employment program affiliated with Developmental Disabilities Association, Jobs West enables people with developmental disabilities to prepare for, find & maintain community-based employment placements
  • Kootenay Career Development Society — From employment readiness programs and supports to training opportunities, the KCDS team is here to help both job seekers and employers meet their goals. KCDS is committed to diversity, inclusion and respect. This means: Removing barriers that may prevent equitable employment
  • Laurel/Posabilities Employment Service — Looking for employment? posAbilities Employment Service assists individuals with diverse abilities to prepare for, secure and maintain competitive employment. We will help match your skills and interests with paid employment opportunities and provide you with on-the-job training and support.

  • Open Door Group — employment is an opportunity to build one’s purpose, sense of value, and community connection. Our mission is opening doors to well-being through sustainable and meaningful employment for all. Since 1976, we have been supporting inclusive hiring practices to remove barriers to employment. We offer services to individuals and services to employers. 
  • Orbital Learning ERTA —  The course consists of lectures, discussions, assignments, group work, and reading to accommodate different learning styles. At the end of the program, you will receive a summary of your performance on the assignments, an assessment of your readiness for employment, and next steps. We provide feedback on 35 work behaviours, habits, and attitudes. Watch a program highlight video about the Employment Retention Training and Assessment (ERTA) Program 
  • 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) (2024).” Check out our AutismBC Talks with Sarah Armstrong from Canucks Autism Network Employment Services Team regarding the RWA program in the videos link. This program offers personalized support for navigating employment services and opportunities, a skills training and employment program (Lower Mainland only currently), and training and support for employers.    

  • Skills Training Employment Program — Canucks Autism Network – Skills Training Employment Program (CAN-STEP) empowers Autistic youth and adults with skills and work experience to better prepare for successful employment. During the course of this program, participants will have the opportunity to receive classroom training (5 weeks) and work experience (6 weeks) opportunities in the Lower Mainland. CAN-STEP is currently being offered with a focus in the hospitality industry.
  • WorkBC’s People with Disabilities Program —  BC Government, Discover job options and services designed to support people with disabilities and build your career.
    • Pursue post-secondary education.
    • Get funding or assistive adaptations for your education.
    • Gain the work experience, job skills and technologies you need to do the job.
    • Create or expand your own business. 
  • 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.
  • YMCA Employment Services — YMCA Employment Services respond to the needs of unemployed and underemployed Canadians, especially youth, by providing much-needed employment programs to address some of the barriers in entering the labour market.
Employment and Volunteering – Resources for Job Seekers 
  • Aide Canada: Can I Ask For Accommodation at Work?  
  • CMHA Links to Employment – Links to Employment helps job seekers with persistent and multiple barriers reach their goals of obtaining meaningful training, volunteer work, and/or employment. The program provides a full range of support and services that are incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan that is delivered through a Primary Care Centre. Employment can be central to an individual’s recovery and growth as employment is a structured, purposeful activity that can enhance self-esteem and a sense of well-being within society. Employment and education are also vital aspects of fostering connection, wellness, and resilience for members of a diverse community.

  • Entrepreneur Development Program Provides opportunities for entrepreneurs with disabilities  

  • Foundry WorksFoundry Works is a free supported employment and education program if you are interested in working, going to school, or completing a training program. 
  • Governement of Canada – Disability Specific Program: Self Declaring for Government of Canada Jobs: The Government of Canada strives to be representative of the population it serves in all its diversity and is committed to hiring over 5000 persons with disabilities by 2025 in a variety of fields across the federal public service. They are committed to providing an inclusive and barrier-free work environment, starting with the hiring process.  
  • Government of Canada – Student Employment: This service provides you with current job opportunities and Government of Canada hiring programs for students. You may also sign up for Job Alerts which will send you an alert through email when new opportunities are available. 
  • Government of Canada – Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program Western Canadians who have a disability can access a network of business professionals and a world of resources through Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP). The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) provides access to business services across Western Canada, including: • Mentoring and one-on-one counseling services • Access to business training and development • Business loans (in some locations) • Help to identify requirements for specialized equipment.
  • Government of Canada – Future Skills:  helps Canadians to take advantage of new opportunities, better prepare for jobs of the future and supports employers to have access to a skilled workforce needed to grow. The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a pan-Canadian organization dedicated to creating a future in which everyone has lifelong access to high-quality career advice and learning opportunities. 
  • Government of Canada – Federal Student Work Experience Program Resource for students to explore career opportunities. Through this program you can explore hundreds of career paths and thousands of jobs that the Government of Canada has to offer across the country. When you apply this program asks you to indicate (self-declare) if you identify as a woman, or are an Aboriginal person, a member of a visible minority, or a person with a disability. Some jobs are only available to people in these groups. To be considered for these opportunities, you need to self-declare. 
  • Government of Canada – Federal Student Work Experience Program Resource for students to explore career opportunities. Through this program you can explore hundreds of career paths and thousands of jobs that the Government of Canada has to offer across the country. When you apply this program asks you to indicate (self-declare) if you identify as a woman, or are an Aboriginal person, a member of a visible minority, or a person with a disability. Some jobs are only available to people in these groups. To be considered for these opportunities, you need to self-declare. 
  • Government of Canada – The Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology program For public servants with disabilities or injuries, AAACT offers a wide range of adaptive computer technologies, tools, training, services and resources. These programs and support help users explore, experiment, and learn about adaptive solutions and collaborative workplaces. They create individual work plans that allow public servants to work collaboratively in a safe, accessible and productive environment. 
  • RWA – Autism Employment Scan An Environmental Scan of Government Programs that Support Autistic People Living in Canada with Employment  
Employment and Volunteering – Programs and Resources for Employers 

Are you an employer looking to increase the diversity of your workplace? We have resources for you too!

 

Housing

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.  

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.   

AutismBC Blog: 7 Tips for Post-Secondary Success  – AutismBC Blog Resource 

Autistic Adulting: Transition into Post Secondary with Evan Noble – AutismBC Member Connects Interview

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).  

The BC Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills — Provides leadership and direction for post-secondary education and skills training systems in British Columbia, as well as labour market information and programs.

Education and Employment Access (EEA) is a full time, 8 month program operating within the School of Access and Academic Preparation. Students with learning difficulties or other barriers to reaching their goals will be offered specific support in their transition to post-secondary education and employment. The focus will be on developing the skills and strategies necessary to be an independent learner in a university setting. Students will finish with a professional portfolio, certifications, strategies for success in first year courses and current experience in the sector of their choice.

Employment and Community Studies (EACS) Program (formerly known as the Access Programs for People with Disabilities) is designed for students with divers learning needs that hinder education successes. The goal of the Access Program is to provide post-secondary education for adults with various disabilities.  These programs will prepare students for employment, volunteer work and further education. 

Entrepreneur Development Program Provides opportunities for entrepreneurs with disabilities.  

Fit and Ready for Skills Training (Douglas College) is a part-time program for students with barriers to education and employment who are in Grade 12 or Grade 12+ or have recently finished high school. The program is designed to assist students in making successful exits from secondary school into training or workplace settings. 

Foundry WorksFoundry 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). 

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).  

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.

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 Accessibility Services 

Selkirk College SOAR Program Steps to Opportunities, Academics and Readiness 

Severe and Permanent Disability Benefit (applies to Student Loans) 

Student Aid BC Assistance Program for Students with Permanent Disabilities 

Student Aid BC – Resource Directory 

Workplace Essential Skills and Training (WEST) – The Workplace Essential Skills and Training (WEST) program at VIU Cowichan. WEST is a two year full-time workplace skills and experience program for neurodivergent adults (17+) with diverse needs, developmental disabilities or learning disabilities—examples include folks with FASD, ADHD, dyslexia, Autistic individuals, people with cognitive disabilities, brain injury, anxiety, etc.


Scholarships/Funding:

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. 

BC Access Grant for students with permanent disabilities 

Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities 

Disability Awards 

Grants, Scholarships, and Other Financial Supports

Scholarships Canada 

Yconic

Recreation and Social 

Autism BC Getting Together on the Spectrum Autistic Adult Meet-Up Group  

Autism Okanagan – Youth & Adult Program – Kelowna 

Canucks Autism Network Adult Programs 

Laurel/Posabilities – Various programs for adults that include social groups, sexuality and relationship learning and behaviour supports.   

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)”. 

Square Peg Society  – Lower Mainland 

Spectrum Health Personal TrainerLower Mainland. Mobile personal training for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. 

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