| 953-969 | PDF | © University of Latvia, 2023

Barriers to Employment for Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism (HFA)

Dita Nīmante, Egija Laganovska
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. The workplace participation of individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) continues to be a challenge. The purpose of this article is to explore the experiences of young people with HFA in finding and keeping a job, with a particular focus on existing barriers to employment. Research seeks to answer two research questions. First, what barriers to employment and to keeping a job are identified by some young adults with HFA and their mothers during the job-seeking process? Second, what are the ways to overcome those barriers? In this this small-scale qualitative research three individuals with HFA with employment experience and their mothers participated in semi-structured interviews to reflect upon their job-seeking and job-finding experiences. The results show that the identified barriers that young people with HFA faced both when looking for a job and when in the working environment were successfully overcome, and they cannot really be considered as barriers or limitations for particular individual. However, we found several obstacles that were common to people with HFA. Obstacles both in finding and keeping a job that were directly related to the disorder were identified, for example, in the occurrence of sudden changes at work, unpredictability, uncertainty, and multitasking. There were identified effective ways to overcome difficulties and specific characteristics which are common for people with ASDs which can even be an advantage in employment are discussed.

Keywords: high-functioning autism, autism spectrum disorder, young adults, barriers to employment, overcoming barriers

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0