In this post you will learn about vocational activities you can do to help your students learn valuable job skills.
Vocational activities can make all the difference for people on the spectrum. They prepare autistic students for life post-graduation, help them choose a career path, and help them professionally use their functional life skills.
If you’re wondering what activities to choose and approaches to take while training an autistic student vocationally, I’m here to help!
I’ll give you a list of activities you can try with your students to prepare them for their careers, so follow along!
What Are Vocational Activities?
Vocational activities are tasks meant to prepare students for their careers after graduation. They’re primarily associated with hands-on jobs.
While all students can benefit from vocational activities, autistic students, in particular, need them because they naturally struggle more with the expectations of a working environment. If you are looking for help with writing vocational goals you can check out this post.
8 Vocational Activities for Autistic Students
Here’s a list of vocational activities you can attempt with your autistic students to prepare them for a successful career! If you are looking for ready-made resources already done for you, check out the Work Etiquette Task Cards Bundle Here!
Most jobs nowadays require applications before getting employed, including hands-on ones. That's why training your student to complete a job application correctly is a monumental step to guarantee acceptance in future jobs.
For the activity, you can prepare a fake job application and encourage them to correctly fill out all their personal details. Then, go over the applications and highlight points for improvement. You can repeat the activity as many times as needed to reach the desired result.
Another important vocational activity for students on the spectrum is writing a resume. While it’ll be challenging at first for the students to write their information in a presentable manner, it’ll help organize their thoughts.
Ideally, you should help them recognize the most sought-after skills in the work field and include them in the resume.
For this activity, you can encourage your students to write their skills, education, strength points, and hobbies on a piece of paper. Then, give them a paper with the layout of a resume, and tell them to fill it using the information they just laid out on the other paper.
The biggest challenge that autistic students face while joining the workforce is communicating correctly with people outside their comfort zone. That’s why a job interview can be a tall order for someone who hasn’t trained enough for it.
To try this activity, encourage your student to dress formally and prepare their resume beforehand. Then, interview them while asking generic questions about their strengths and weaknesses, their hopes for the job, and more.
Starting a career for autistic students means moving independently, which requires public transportation. Since it’s something every student faces, I couldn’t make this list without including it as an essential vocational activity.
The activity can be as simple as teaching your student to read bus schedules or as detailed as taking them out to ride it in person. You should also boost their awareness about safety measures in public and how much transportation costs to and from their workplace daily.
A fair share of everyday life situations includes using a road map. Suppose your student misses the bus and has to take a different route to work. Also, some jobs involve moving a lot, like delivery personnel. That’s why map reading is an essential skill to have, and you can easily incorporate it into your student’s vocational training.
For the activity, you can take your students out on a field day. Print maps of the neighborhood you’re in, mark where you’re standing and where you’re going, and hand them out to your students.
Then, encourage your students to go to the marked place by reading the map. Of course, they won’t get it right the first time. However, with your help, they can ace it before they’re employed.
Nowadays, all jobs use mail to communicate important news, be it the acceptance of the job, structural changes to the company, or others. Sometimes, autistic people might be asked to send emails in response to their employers, which is an important skill to learn.
As part of your vocational training program, you can teach your students how to send professional emails with the appropriate response. You can act as their employer and send them emails, then wait for their responses.
Many hands-on jobs include sorting items according to sensory processing, like folding clothes, arranging stationery, and more. Luckily, training your students to sort items is an easy activity you can attempt quickly with minimal materials.
All you have to do is provide items that are widely available in your home or workplace, like pens, pencils, and erasers. Then, put all of them in a large box and shake it so that the items mix together.
Give your students smaller boxes and tell them to sort the items separately, then leave them for a few minutes until they attempt it.
The last vocational activity I’ll discuss is envelope addressing. Although snail mail took a huge step back because of the rise of emails, it’s still used by many employers in various fields.
Ideally, you should train your autistic students to address and send envelopes to different people. This way, if they work in a place that works by snail mail, they won’t face a communication issue.
For this activity, hand out formatted envelopes to your students, and encourage them to write the delivery address and the return address, then add the stamp.
To Wrap Up
Vocational activities prepare autistic students for joining the workforce, and they can be easy to organize. All you have to do is check the above list, choose the activity that appeals to you and your students’ needs the most, and get to work!