Entering 2021, most of the members of our adult autism group of the Bay Area, AASCEND, continue to be out of work, laid off or furloughed from the jobs they had prior to the pandemic. Though they are told to be satisfied with their benefit checks or unemployment checks, they are bored, restless and want to get back to work.
Whether and when they return to work will depend on the same factors that will determine how quickly other workers return to work. So too these factors will determine how quickly the broader system of autism employment initiatives, autism-focused businesses, and the state-level vocational rehabilitation and developmental disability departments will return to pre-pandemic levels. It is an appropriate time to take stock on the state of autism employment.