WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“Very helpful and positive”
Please contact us to speak to your group via the contact form (below) or at IFAutism.email@example.com. We welcome opportunities to speak to employers, parents, and vocational agency personnel. We have decades of experience with hundreds of individuals on the autism spectrum, their parents, and employers, and we can speak to a variety of topics related to "soft skills", social communication skills, interactions with customers and coworkers, parenting issues, employment issues, higher education, independence, motivation, anxiety, intensity issues, preferences, "triggers", and relationships in and out of the workplace. By working with employers, parents, and vocational services, we hope to develop coordinated supports with shared language and expectations for individuals on the autism spectrum, to support their successful employment and independence.
We offer class content in a variety of formats so that we can meet with customers in our area as well as those at a distance: for example, a series of 90 minute classes, a single day-long class, content presented over a single weekend (Saturday and Sunday morning), two consecutive Saturdays, etc.
Independent Futures With Autism is a vendor with the State of Michigan. Agencies such as Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) may contact us to enroll individuals in our classes as appropriate. Please contact us to inquire about the classes. We welcome the opportunity to speak with any vocational agency or customer about our services. You may contact us through the form below or at IFAutism.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support class content, lessons, and homework, we include our books as part of our class fee when appropriate.
"Positive Steps Toward Employment With Autism" Classes
These classes are intended for "high functioning" adults on the autism spectrum who are competitively employable but struggle with positive social communication, problem solving, and adaptive skills. Aligned with Lisa Tew's book, Positive Steps Toward Employment With Autism: Social Skills for the Workplace, these classes develop positive social communication and adaptive behaviors across 5 areas that we know are frequently challenging for many individuals with autism: making mistakes on the job; when unexpected or unwanted events occur at work; speaking positively with coworkers, customers, and employers; communicating positively with body/face/voice tone; and managing intense feelings, preferences, and opinions in the workplace.
"Small Talk and Social Practice for the Workplace" classes
These classes are structured for high functioning adults on the autism spectrum, to provide direct instruction and practice in the following areas: appropriate time/place/person for conversing at work; talking too much; “preferred” topic issues; invading space of others; topics that we can/can’t talk about at work; “small talk” vs. “deep talk” and purpose of small talk; turn taking; acknowledging and greeting others; transition to topics; appropriate and positive body language for social interactions; positive word choices; email/texting/social media issues; use of cell phone at work. There is plenty of practice in fun, structured social interactions. We work toward developing self-awareness of social interaction and conversation issues and increasing comfort level to make necessary changes.
"Social Communication Foundations for Employment Success" classes
These classes are for adults with high functioning autism or "Asperger’s" (or similar condition), to help them develop the social communication soft skills necessary for successful employment. A parent/support person class runs simultaneously to give information that will support carryover and applications of these skills at home. In the "Foundations" classes we cover a variety of skills that are the foundational to success at work for individuals on the autism spectrum: hard vs soft skills; positivity in body language, word choices, voice tone, and approach to challenges; “why we care” (respect, reputation, making others comfortable); “insight”, strengths/weaknesses (and receiving constructive criticism and making necessary adjustments); preferences and expressing them; autism spectrum and issues that go with the condition; “feelings” vocabulary (comfortable/uncomfortable) and identifying/expressing verbally how client and others feel; intensity of feelings and “dialing it back”; coping strategies (helpful and unhelpful); positive listening body language and showing interest (even when you are not interested); positive word choices at work including tact, “safe” compliments and encouragement; topics that make others comfortable vs. uncomfortable; conversation basics including appropriate time/place/person and not "over talking" or "over sharing"; “blending in” with others; problem perspective/feeling intensity/positive response to problems.
"Individual Employability Skills Training" for Communication, Social, and Adaptive Needs in the Workplace
Individual employability skills training is offered for high-functioning adults with autism who have special needs, for example those who are unable to benefit adequately from group lessons due to issues of severity and perseveration, lack of insight or motivation, or for whom class attendance is not possible. We are a licensed, master’s level Speech-Language Pathologist and Social Worker with decades of experience, and are highly qualified to take on individual challenges.