Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices hosted a workshop presented by Dr. Stephen Shore this week. Dr. Shore is an Assistant Professor at Adelphi University and has published several books and chapters on autism including his personal experiences.
The workshop featured an introduction by Dr. Joshua Weinstein, CEO & Founder of ICare4Autism and Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices. He spoke about ICare4Autism’s Autism Workforce Initiative which will be the first of its kind. The initiative will be an integral component of ICare4Autism’s Global Autism Center for Research and Education in Jerusalem.
It will encompass workforce entry services providing high school students with autism with the opportunity to discover their interests and abilities by participating in a variety of vocational experiences, and works with students and their families to develop realistic transition plans when preparing to leave school and enter the workforce.
There will be vocational and employment services ranging for the semi-skilled, placing individuals in (or work as subcontractors on) jobs performing tasks such as light assembly, packaging, recycling, collating, lawn and garden work, etc. There will also be the placement for the high functioning placing individuals in jobs that build off their existing strengths and personality traits in such areas as computer programming, maintenance and operation of machines and equipment, laboratory technician, animal training and care, horticulture, handicrafts, photography, etc.
In recognition to the large number of opportunities in the technology sector and the unique skills that persons with Asperger’s possess there will be a special targeted program to place persons with Asperger’s Syndrome in technology sector jobs.
Dr. Weinstein also discussed ICare4Autism’s International Autism Conference scheduled for August this year and those in attendance were lucky enough to receive a special discount on registration for the conference.
Dr. Stephen Shore then took the floor, speaking to a full house about employment opportunities for people with Autism. Even those individuals with ASD who achieved post secondary education or have highly developed skill areas often have difficulty selling themselves in job interviews and maintaining working relationships on the job. Drawing on his personal and professional experiences as an adult living with Autism, Dr. Shore shared the strategies he has used successfully to find and secure employment and meet the expectations of employers for people throughout the autism spectrum.
Dr. Shore reiterated the point that when looking for employment, those with autism should focus on their strengths and what could make them uniquely employable given special talents or interests.
The next workshop at Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices, The Road to Independence, is on the 28th of March and will cover issues such as toilet training, self care skills and pre-vocational skills. Click here to see the full workshop schedule.