Creating a Network for Those with Aspergers in the Workforce

Aspergers: Getting a Job

Once you have written your “one-minute commercial” and are confident telling others about yourself, it is time to start building your network. What is a network? A network is any friend, family member, mentor, teacher, or professional that can help you in your quest for employment. Building a network takes time, but can be extremely beneficial.

People at Work

Most people get jobs, because of someone they know. New employers usually feel more confident when they hire a person recommended by someone they know. Hiring a new employee is expensive so they want to go with someone, who others can personally attest to their skills.

So, who should be in your network? What is the best way to go about creating a network?

I would start with any friends from school, work, or different organizations that you believe would keep an eye out for jobs for you. Then think about family members that could help, think about former employers, teachers and supervisors…this is a great place to start. Sometimes your direct contact may not know anybody, but someone in their network may know of a good referral, or opportunity.

In the classes I teach I use Dr. Jed Baker’s “Preparing for Life” series. He offers different types of scripts that have proven beneficial for my clients. These can be used in conjunction with the one minute commercial to start building your personal network!  Two examples of scripts are below.

Scripts for Networking:

Script for calling a friend, relative, current or former employer, teacher or supervisor:

  1. Hi this is, ________________. I am looking for a job as a _________________and I was hoping you could help. Is this an okay time to talk?
  2. Do you know anyone who may need someone who can______________________?
  3. Do you know anyone else who might know of any job opening?
  4. Would you be willing to be a reference for me? Would you be comfortable telling others my skills in____________ and some of my personality traits such as________________?
  5. If so can I get your contact information for an employer?
  6. Thank you for your time.

Script for calling someone who has been referred to you by others.

  1. Hello this is__________________. I am a friend (or relative or acquaintance) of____________________. I’m looking for a job as a______________________ and he or she said that you might be able to help. Is this an okay time to talk?
  2. Do you know anyone who might need someone who can_______________________?
  3. Do you know anyone else you might know of any job openings?
  4. Thank you very much for your time.

By Maggie Cromeens

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Maggie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal and Fine Arts with a Major in Communication/Public Relations and a Minor in Non Profit Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has worked for Compass Resource Group since 2011. She assists adults in Texas with disabilities in achieving their employment goals by providing training, job placement assistance, environmental work assessments, social skills training, and job coaching. She has been instrumental in shaping the services at Compass Resource Group to meet the needs of young adults on the Autism Spectrum who are transitioning from high school. She is a member of the DARS Statewide Developmental Disorders Team

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3 thoughts on “Creating a Network for Those with Aspergers in the Workforce

  1. Hi,
    Can you help put me in contact with some people in Nassau county Long Island who can help my son who is very high functioning AspergersNHP transition from high school to jobs and colleges. He needs a lot of help and friends and socially needs to improve his communication skills so he can function independently and boost his self esteem. He has spent too much time on video games mostly wow and mine craft. He is now feeling very lonely and left out and different and desperately wants some friends and to improve his skills. Any help would be appreciated. He also sees a therapist which is costing an arm and leg. Are there any Financial Supports for children and or families with Aspergers to help pay for therapy?
    Thanks so much! In Advance!

    • Hello Kim….Lisa Rogers, our expert on Education K-12 answered your question as best she could!
      The Interactive Autism Network has several resources related to the transition to post-secondary options:
      http://www.iancommunity.org/ssc/autism-college-experience

      Additional Resources:
      IAN’s Transition to Adulthood Series:
      Part 1: Coming of Age: Autism and the Transition to Adulthood
      Part 2: Daily Living Skills: A Key to Independence for People with Autism
      Part 4: Finding a College Program for Students with Autism

      In addition, The National Autism Society has resources that focus on transition to adulthood:
      http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/autism-through-the-lifespan/

      A Life of Happiness and Dignity
      The Autism Society works to ensure that every adult with autism has access to services and supports that maximize independence and secure the highest quality of life. For many, employment and living in the community are goals to pursue during adulthood. Self-advocacy is also important to many people on the spectrum, as more people with autism are speaking out about their experiences, identities and needs.

      As for social skills opportunities, you might go to http://www.ahany.org/ for possible events and supports.
      AHA Association [Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association] serves individuals on the autism spectrum, their families, and the professionals who work with them, providing crucial resources and support as they face challenges, build on their strengths and fulfill their potential.

      AHA’s services reach nearly ten thousand people annually through one-to-one phone and e-support; more than a dozen monthly support meetings, the most run by a single autism-related association in New York state; an informative weekly AHA eNewsletter and bi-annual On The Spectrum print publication; family recreational events; bi-annual education conferences; and signature fundraisers such as its annual ROCK ‘N’ BOWL for Autism.

      In a previous blog, the following strategies and resources were shared in hopes of supporting social skill development in young adults:

      As you pursue efforts to develop his social skills further, it would be helpful to identify the specific skills that you and he feels would be most beneficial. For instance, does he struggle in initiation conversations? If so, then two strategies might be helpful that you can work on at home. First, conversation starters or scripts might provide the support necessary to engage in this difficult social skill. More information can be found in a publication title: Life Journey Through Autism: An Educator’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome which is available as a free download at the following website: http://researchautism.org/.
      A companion strategy is video modeling. Depending on the specific skills that you want to develop, you can either make, find or purchase videos that teach how to do that specific skill. I have found some quality videos on YouTube or TeacherTube. Another resource for purchase is available through Model Me Kids at http://www.modelmekids.com/.

      Lisa Rogers, Director
      Educating Diverse Learners
      http://www.educatingdiverselearners.org
      [210] 867-6826