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shamrock
shamrock asks:
Q:

Are there any sources of help out there for discouraged job seekers with Aspergers syndrome?

My godson is 25 years old and just graduated from college with a double major--computers and criminology (focus on forensics).  He tried to join the military and was rejected because of his AS.  He currently lives at home and needs to find a job--but how--he is already discouraged with the few attempts he has made and is at the point of not sharing accurate information about job searches with his family.  I believe he would be classified as a 'discouraged job seeker' under other conditions.  We live in Portland, Oregon.  How does one go about seeking job help with a discouraged AS person who is not motivated to seek help--I don't know how much he can be motivated from within to climb through the obvious barriers.  Are there sources of help out there?  Do they actually help?  How do you make the connection between those who can help and those needing help who know they have AS but hide from it and do not get into a problem solving mode?  Are there support groups in Portland, OR?
My husband and I do not know how to help him.  Thanks for any discussion and help you can offer.
In Topics: Self esteem and identity, Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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SarahRubar
SarahRubar writes:
Shamrock, have you looked at job placement services in your area, or head-hunters? These are people you go to, give them your resume, and they hunt for open jobs that are suitable for your skill set. They may be of assistance to you and your son.

Sarah
> 60 days ago

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lkauffman
lkauffman writes:
It is clear that you are very involved and care deeply for this young man. Your godson is very lucky to have your love and support.

As you mention, this is a very difficult situation and there is, unfortunately, no "silver bullet". However, I do believe that your godson would benefit from better understanding and embracing his experience of Asperger's Syndrome (AS), in order to get everything he can out of life. As you most likely know, children and adults with AS have significant difficulties in understanding many subtle and not-so-subtle aspects of social communication and interaction. Folks with AS tend to focus on the details and often miss the "whole picture", which can be problematic in terms of understanding the relationship between things in the environment. Indeed, folks with AS often struggle with organization and planning. Together, these areas of relative weakness can seriously impair the young job seeker.

However, individuals with AS often have significant strengths that are quite useful in the workplace. For instance, the same focus on details and "bits" can help someone to become quite successful with computers and programming (he is definitely going in the right direction). In addition, folks with AS typically have quite strong verbal skills. Thus, your godson most likely has some very valuable skills and expertise that many employers would be thrilled have as part of their team.

Your godson most likely needs some support organizing his job search, focusing his efforts on certain job sites, and advice about what types of jobs would be appropriate. And, once he gets and interview, he could use some support around what is expected and typical of interview behavior. Is there a local job training program as part of the city services? Or, as Sarah recommended, a head hunter may be a valuable asset.

Finally, I do believe that your godson could benefit from understanding and considering the different ways in which his AS might be an asset. For a little inspiration, you should point him to the career of Dr. Temple Grandin -- http://www.templegrandin.com/. Dr. Grandin was diagnosed as Autistic as a child, but she was able to leverage her abilities into a successful career as a  livestock handling equipment designer and professor.

Good luck and keep us posted.

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist
Education.com Reference Team
> 60 days ago

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