A Sudbury mother of a youth with Asperger's wants to teach employers how to create inclusive workplaces for adults with autism.
While there are many programs for autistic children under the age of 18, adults often slip through the cracks, according to Joanne Beyers, who recently gave a presentation on inclusive workplaces at the YMCA Employment Services in Sudbury.
The government does a good job of advocating for those adults with visible disabilities, but it's more challenging for those with autism, she said. Her son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when he was in kindergarten.
"What we see is, when kids age out of the child sector and graduate from college or high school or university, they often are the forgotten," Beyers said.
About 10 of the 75 clients at the YMCA Employment Services have some form of autism.
Job coach Barb McGillis said there are workplace resources out there, but people may not know about them.
"I think it's just a matter of getting the information out there," she said.
"I don't think that there's enough awareness out there that there is something for them at the end of the school year once they're done their Grade 12."
As a job coach, McGillis said she will often give advice to employers on how to help clients through the interview process or in the workplace — and that can include telling the interviewer the person may be extremely anxious or may not make eye contact.
It’s been a positive outcome for Beyers' 19-year-old son, who recently completed a successful work placement at a private radio station in Sudbury.
Beyers said she wants everyone with autism to experience the same level of success.
"Doesn't matter how able or disabled we are," she said. "What we probably need to do a better job at is be more inclusive and open up job opportunities for people who learn differently, so they can all have meaningful work and jobs."