By: Krystle Crossman
Shannon Nash and her husband received what they thought was end-of-the-world news when their son Jason was just 18 months old. He had been diagnosed with autism. Shannon said that she thought that this diagnosis meant that he was never going to have a normal life and would not get to accomplish all of the things that she would hope for him. She was extremely happy when she found out that this was not correct.
Jason has made significant progress since his diagnosis. He is 16 years old now and is still undergoing speech therapy but has been making excellent strides in his schooling. Nash is considering putting him in a Minnesota-based program that helps kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) to prepare themselves for the real world and the workforce.
When Nash was doing research about the job market that her son would soon encounter she became very aware of how few jobs there were for people with ASDs. She found that only 55% got jobs right out of high school. Searching the job boards in the area didn’t give her much hope either. She decided that she was going to try and do something about this. She joined forces with jobBoardASP and created a job board that was specifically geared to people with an ASD. So far only one company has joined on and posted a job but she is hoping that she can turn that into many more. There are also resources on the site for employers so that they can learn how to effectively manage someone who has an ASD. The site is called Autism Job Board and was launched during a conference for AutismOne.
Nash’s hope is that those with ASD can find positions when they leave school so that they can learn about responsibility and how to be independent.