For young adults on the autism spectrum, taking advantage of the summer months often is essential to gaining valuable experience, learning new skills, and preparing for the next chapter of life. Some volunteer with a local nonprofit to give back, while others intern or find a summer job to explore a field in which they’re interested. Oftentimes, however, the process of pinpointing the right opportunity can be daunting. But don’t fret – Milestones can get you the individualized recommendations you need to make the right choice.
Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the community and to build transferable work skills. Two great resources we recommend using in the meantime are Volunteer Match and Greater Cleveland Volunteers. These sites can help you find available options in your area and send you notifications when new projects begin. Call the Milestones Helpdesk if you need additional help finding autism-friendly opportunities.
Internships can serve as great resume builders and allow students to explore their career interests over the course of a semester or summer break. Interested in STEM? Check out NASA Internships at Glenn Research Center. Cleveland Clinic also has great internships for every season. If you or your child is having trouble finding something suited to their interests and abilities, give our Helpdesk a call. The Milestones team can prepare appropriate options and even has an internship program of its own that connects individuals on the spectrum with individualized placements at the Milestones office and in the Cleveland community.
Did you know Youth Opportunities Unlimited has expanded its summer work opportunities? YOU is now offering summer and year-round job preparation along with new work opportunities. Participants must reside in Cuyahoga County and be between the ages of 14-24. Check out the FAQ to get answers about all the requirements before starting your application. Speak with your SSA or OOD counselor about getting additional job coaching supports during this summer employment opportunity. Applications are now being accepted.
Be sure to also check out our Employment Guides for lots of great reads about preparing for future job opportunities.
What if your child is not ready for any of the above? No worries; it’s all about finding the appropriate starting point. Begin by getting them involved in daily activities that will teach them transferable skills such as teamwork. Think of activities around the house, such as tying the trash, sweeping with a broom, vacuuming or dusting.
Check out this list of potential chore options or search this chore chart by age. Make adjustments based on ability and skill level. Remember to provide plenty of time, visual aids, and support as they are learning their new tasks.
And lastly, if your child is getting extended school year services (ESY), make sure that vocational training is a part of the plan. If you are looking at a camp option, see if they focus on building independence, initiative, confidence, communication, and teamwork skills.
Haley Dunn works with individuals with ASD as Milestones Autism Resources’ Teen/Adult Coordinator to help them transition to adulthood. She has experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities and ASD to transition from school to work, as well as providing mental health counseling services. Haley has a deep passion for connecting people to their community, whether it is through employment, volunteering, or life enrichment activities.