On a recent Saturday I was wandering around the house, trying to get organized for the day. The phone rang. My child announced, “It’s Temple Grandin. Did you want to get that?” Uh, yeah.
After a couple of deep breaths to steady myself from the shock and excitement, I answered the call from The Queen of Autism, Dr. Temple Grandin. Following a brief conversation, she offered some pearls of wisdom that I now share with you, all credit to the queen. As you well know, Dr. Grandin is very invested in folks on the spectrum learning job skills, starting early. She offered the following specific advice:
- Parents should not coddle their children. Parents need to set up the environment so that children learn job skills. This is part of your job as a parent: unwrap the bubble wrap, get real, and teach realistic job skills.
- By age 11 years, children should be volunteering regularly outside of the house. Grandin suggested that children walk the neighbor’s dog for 20 minutes a day, “a real walk,” and not the family dog. She wants outside accountability and the opportunity to receive instruction from a non-family member.
- By age 14 years she wants kids to get a job (or whatever age is legal in your state). She acknowledged that getting a job at 14 can be a challenging goal and suggests that parents use their social networks to facilitate this.
- By the time folks wrap up high school, Dr. Grandin wants 2 jobs on the résumé. Grandin wants realistic job skills in place prior to departing the family home for college or life.
So, the queen speaks. Make it happen, people! If you are in Fort Collins, I can help you find the friendly people who can helpJ I have Speech Language Pathologists (YES, this is part of the world of work!), Occupational Therapists (YES, part of the world of work), and others ready to help you! All hail our Queen. (And I formally nominate Dr. Tony Attwood for King.)