Suggestions from one of the Montana Autism Education Project consultants:
I use several assessments to help our students narrow the career search and build on their existing skills. I start with a Casey Life Skills and I do one each year to help write or update my IEP goals by the end of the school and helps me assess their progress from year to year. I also use an assessment called Careers for Me II, that is both in booklet form and on the computer- it comes in three different levels and it works get even for the non-verbal students on the spectrum.
At the end of this career interest Assessment, I have students produce a brief power point or flip chart on a career of their choice based on the questions they have to complete at the end of the assessment- which I then have them put into their vocational portfolio. Once they have completed a few of the career inventories, we sit down and go over their strengths , soft skills (work skills) they may already have, as well as settings and locations (inside work vs. outside) once we have compiled a list of these things we begin to look at jobs that match up- MCIS is a great site to use to give them a reality check on some of their ideas (start with the Interest Profile under assessments). I also refer often to Developing Talents, by Temple Grandin.
Once you have them thinking about work or schooling after high school, I give them the BESI (Barriers to Employment Success Inventory) as well as opportunities to work in the school work study program so that we can then use work assessments and employer comment to give them real life application and also adds to their resumes. The work study evaluations (one per quarter) can then be attached to the IEP as well. I have done this with both low functioning students and my highest functioning students- with great results. Parents who say they can’t get their kids to think about what they are doing the next day begin to talk about next year, when I am a senior, and then when I graduate…