The Autism Full Employment Act

By Michael Bernick and Louis A. Vismara

The Autism Full Employment Act book cover
Added December 7, 2021

Impactful and integral to our economic recovery after the pandemic, The Autism Full Employment Act will rebuild and approve autism employment programs. Employment remains the issue today for many adults with autism. During the pandemic of 2020, authors Michael Bernick and Dr. Lou Vismara, along with other adults with autism, practitioners, and advocates, set out to develop an Autism Full Employment Act. At the time, the national economy was decimated, and it was clear that it would need to be rebuilt, starting in 2021 and beyond. The Act is an attempt not only to rebuild autism employment programs, but also to address the limitations and short­comings of the current system. The Autism Full Employment Act shows how there can be a place in the job world for the wide range of adults with autism, ADHD, and other learning and mental health differ­ences—many of whom are not employed today. Bernick and Dr. Vismara review the autism employment initiatives in recent years among major employers, state and local governments, autism-focused businesses, and autism transi­tion programs, and present strategies to build on these initiatives. They set out more fully the meanings of “autism talent advantage,” “autism friendly workplace,” and “employment for the more severely impacted.” Six broad strategy areas are explored. Interspersed with these six strategy areas are notes on related issues of “professionalizing the direct support workforce,” “transitions,” and “comorbidities.” Bernick and Dr. Vismara end by considering why no government action or pro­gram can replace the employment journey of each adult with autism, but how instead the Act can hasten these journeys.

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