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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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Employment Information for Employers

Overview

Below is information on employment that we hope potential employers will find useful when interacting with their employees!

Supporting New Habits

Overview

Habits are the things we do routinely day after day. When we get up, how we dress, and whether we exercise are all examples of daily habits. In a sense, we are the product of our habits, and sometimes it’s necessary to change habits if they do not serve our health or well-being. For people with autism, the predictability that is found in habits and routine is both calming and critical. Cultivating new habits, while challenging, often leads to personal growth and improved quality of life. The flow process chart below will assist you in supporting a person with autism in developing and maintaining new habits.

Set a Goal

  • Involve the individual in the goal-setting process
  • Ensure the goal is achievable
  • Focus on one new habit at a time

Select a micro-behavior related to the goal

  • Getting out of bed 5 minutes earlier each day
  • Walking for 5 minutes every morning
  • Eating one vegetable each day

Link the beahavior to an established routine

  • Link the new behavior to an existing habit (e.g., after lunch go for a walk)
  • Provide visual support to show how the new habit fits
    into the existing routine (e.g., picture activity schedule,
    check-list, calendar)

Reinforce the habit

  • Always provide encouragement and praise
  • Reinforce the effort made, not the accuracy of the behavior
  • Encourage sharing of success with others

Build on success

Adjust the micro-behavior in small steps until the desired goal is met and the habit is established

What you can do now

Review the individual’s current goals to identify whether there are areas that new habits should be encouraged. Ask her which goal she would like to focus on and describe the new habit(s) that are necessary to work toward the goal. Choose one new habit together and begin the process of fostering the new behavior using the strategies provided here.

Building a Relationship of Mutual Respect

Overview

Everyone wishes to be treated with respect.  The best way for you to gain the respect of someone you support is to build a relationship of mutual trust.  In addition to the ways you build any respectful relationship, there are also methods unique to building relationships with people on the autism spectrum.  Maintaining a person-centered perspective in your everyday interactions is key.

The main point of person centeredness is acknowledging that both you and the person you support have strengths, hopes, passions and needs that are important to well-being and a positive life condition.

  • Know the people you support beyond their paperwork
  • Speak to the people you support as you would to any other adult, taking into consideration their personal communication style
  • Provide opportunities for those you support to be involved in independent decision making
  • Always honor an individual’s right to privacy
  • Have a conversation about the language you use to talk about autism or other conditions the person experiences

What you can do now

  1. Build trust.  Take some time to get to know the people you support as individuals. Learn about their preferences, their sensory and communication needs, and apply what you learn to inform your daily support strategies.
  2. Assess how you speak to the people you support.  Do they have a preferred method of speaking about being on the spectrum of autism?  Do you talk down to them as if they were younger than they are, or as if they are not there in the company of other people?  If so, what adjustments can you make to improve the dynamic of your relationship?

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) Referral Process for Employment-Related Services

Overview

The purpose of this bulletin is to update guidance regarding requirements for when individuals must be referred to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). This guidance applies to individuals enrolled in or enrolling in any of the following:

• Consolidated Waiver
• Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) Waiver
• Adult Autism Waiver

Employment-related services impacted by this bulletin include:

• Supported Employment available in the Consolidated and P/FDS Waivers
• Supported Employment, Job Assessment and Job Finding available in the Adult Autism Waiver
• Transitional Work available in the Consolidated, P/FDS and Adult Autism Waivers
• Prevocational Services in the Consolidated and P/FDS Waivers

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Other downloads

Name Description Type File
Supporting new habits This resource, developed by ASERT, provides information for direct support staff and others working with individuals who have autism on how to help teach new skills and support new habits. pdf Download file: Supporting new habits
Referral Process for Employment The purpose of this bulletin is to update guidance regarding requirements for when individuals must be referred to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). pdf Download file: Referral Process for Employment

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.