Why Soft Skills Are Important for Youth with Autism to Learn

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A major issue adults on the autism spectrum face after becoming employed is staying employed.


One of the contributing factors it maintaining employment is soft skills, which is an area that many on the autism spectrum report having difficulty with.


This post will share what exactly soft skills are and why we should focus on teaching and practicing them with autistic youth.


This is also the introduction to a new Autism Grown Up series called the Soft Skills Series, which will be posts focused on soft skills in the workplace.


Note: This post is directed to parents, caregivers, families, and professionals in the autism field as they are often the ones teaching and providing opportunities for these skills.


Youth and adults on the spectrum are encouraged to read this too.


Soft skills are skills needed to be successful in the workplace.


They include communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills.


In comparison, soft skills aren’t easily measured like hard skills, like how many words you can type per minute or use specific technology or computer programs.


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Soft skills are a common challenge for employees on the autism spectrum to practice and master.



As a result, limited or lacking the needed soft skills for the job are a significant contributor to why most autistic adults have continued difficulty maintaining a job.



Generally speaking, soft skills are also a trending and important workplace topic.



Due to their nature of being immeasurable, context-based, and subjective, soft skills are difficult to practice and master.



On top of the fact that they are rarely focused on in school.


In the following weeks, we’ll be discussing various types of soft skills that are critical for autistic adults to get and keep a job.



Since the employment rate is so low for this population, anything we can do to help foster and promote these skills will increase their chances of maintaining a job.


We’ve categorized these based on the literature available on soft skills for youth with disabilities and on employment in general.



PART 1: Communication skills

Examples include listening, nonverbal communication, public speaking, writing skills, and presentations



PART 2: Teamwork

Examples include collaboration, accepting feedback, dealing with difficult situations, self-awareness.



PART 3: Problem-solving skills

Examples include critical thinking, conflict management, decision-making, and being resourceful.




What are some soft skills you would like to focus on with your child/student with autism?  Share in our Autism Grown Up community and let’s chat!