One of the most successful techniques in contributing to labour learning of people severely affected by autism is so-called work with support. Work with support is work carried out by a person with physical and help from a monitor.
This concept is useful for defining the labour tasks carried out by people with disabilities and it is intended for the large majority of this group to be able to carry out productive activities regardless of their degree of impairment.
After having applied these programmes to adults with autism, the conclusions we have arrived to are the following:
• Adults severely affected by autism may benefit from real work with support.
• It is necessary to have a previous, very detailed study on the activities they can carry out.
• The programmes of labour activities must include specific methods and techniques.
• The development of this type of programme increases the motivation of the monitors.
These programmes constitute a very effective therapeutic tool in the treatment of this group of people. Specifically, an improvement has been found in their basic working skills and a reduction in behavioural problems associated with autism.
Currently the following workshops are in operation:
• Ecological agriculture
• Poultry farming
• Recycled paper
• Music therapy
• Handling of recycled paper
As a result of the significant cognitive impairments and the severe psychopathology of the people being treated, it is not easy to select tasks suited to their characteristics.
And in this sense, the activities of the aforementioned workshops are highly suited to this group, since they include a range of very fun tasks with varied difficulty.
The methods employed in these workshops are based on:
• Work with support
• Individualised plan for support and reinforcement
• Division of activities into elemental steps (task analysis)
• Tasks as non-routine as possible
• Moderate duration of the activities
• Elimination of activities, dangerous tools and poisonous products.
• Alternation of activities (sedentary/active; inside/outside) and areas
• Functional behaviour analysis
• Participation of people with higher cognitive levels in the full working cycle, so that they can have an overall view of the processes.
Using general activity programmes, individual programmes are created for every person.