Improving access to social care for adults with autism
Work as a route to choice and control
There is not a silver bullet or magic wand but, insofar as there is anything approaching one, it has to be around employment because ... it partly addresses the money problem and the mental health issues.Richard Bacon MP (35)
Only 15 per cent of people with autism are in full-time employment (35), so too many are financially and socially excluded by not working (10). Employment can be a powerful mechanism in promoting control over an individual's life. People with autism, with appropriate support, and if supported by the benefits system, can really benefit from working (55). Prospects, the National Autistic Society's specialist employment service, has success in finding work for people with autism (23, 55) (people with autism, once they are used to a job, are often diligent, good at paying attention to detail and unlikely to move from job to job) (35). Mentoring schemes at work can be helpful in settling people into new roles.
- social support needs to be flexible to fit around working hours
- services should not presume that someone who works full time does not have other needs
- people may need extra support during the transition between state benefits and paid employment
- people may need extra support during transitions between jobs or if their job role changes.
Evidence that work leads to genuine social inclusion for people with autism is slight (6), suggesting that more needs to be done to change employer and colleague perceptions about autism (10). Better autism awareness for Department for Work and Pensions staff would benefit people with autism seeking job opportunities (59).