Transitioning to Adulthood for Autistic Youth

“The biggest problem is kids are not learning how to work.”

Dr. Temple Grandin has become world renowned for her work in animal sciences and is a professor at CSU in Fort Collins. She is even more recognized for her advocacy for autism issues. She herself is on the autism spectrum and she has written about her experiences in several books including the Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures. She is speaking at an event at the Front Range Community College in Westminster this evening on challenges facing autistic young people transitioning into adulthood.  “The biggest problem is kids are not learning how to work.  When I was 13 mother got me a selling job and when I was 15 I was cleaning horse stalls, I was painting signs and selling them. In college I had career relevant internships. We have got to teach these kids work skills long before they graduate high school. In junior high we need to find paper route substitutes.”  Grandin says that volunteer work is also valuable as long as it happens outside of the family and provides an opportunity to learn some basic skills.

Grandin says there are great services for young children on the autism spectrum, but transitioning into adult hood can be problematic for people on the spectrum. “We’ve got to make sure that when the services do stop they’ve already made the transition before they age out.”

Over protective parenting is another issue that Grandin sees as a problem for many young people “I’m seeing fully verbal smart autistic kids that ought to be working in Silicon Valley, Mom’s doing all the talking for them, they haven’t learned how to shake hands – not being taught enough basic skills like bank account, shopping, ordering food in restaurants.”

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Dr. Temple Grandin will speak on helping young autistic people transition into adulthood at an event on Monday April 11th at Front Range Community College in Westminster, 3645 W. 112th. The focus will be on social skills, kinetic learning, jobs and transitioning from autistic teen to adulthood.

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