1. Attention grabber: “The goal of EDUCATION is UNDERSTANDING; the goal of TRAINING is PERFORMANCE.”- Frank Bell

2. Vocational training is an important factor in helping autistic children live more meaningful lives in the long term.

3. This talk will discuss

4. The importance of this discussion is that it will provide a road map for the kind of vocational training that can be used to help autistic children gain full time employment in adulthood and thus live more meaningful lives in the long term.

What is Vocational Training?

1. Vocational training is training that focuses on the PRACTICAL application of skills learned

2. Here, job specific technical training is taught to the autistic child with a view that they may gain employment at some point in the future

3. Vocational training is the the link that bridges the gap between the autistic community and the working world.

4. Only 6% of autistic adults hold paid full-time jobs. The most important implications are

Weakness of the Current Setup

1. Though several initiatives exist, they have not been able to bridge the gap in providing meaningful training that adequately prepares the autistic child for paid full time employment.

2. This is primarily a failure of the approach adopted. In Malaysia, the approach adopted is akin  to trying to put a round peg through a square hole.

3. Invariably, existing institution seek to provide the autistic child with the skills necessary to carry out jobs in various trades. This does NOT work  because when it comes to autistic  children, vocational training is not just about developing skills to execute a specific job. It is about finding jobs that is suited to the autistic child’s specific skills and abilities and training them to fulfill that role.

4. This is the approach that has taken root in other parts of the world. Examples of this can be seen in

5. The common denominator in the above examples is that the autistic child is streamed into work that is suited to their skills and abilities instead of  trying to develop new skills in order  for them to fit into a specific job.

6. Another important element in these programmes is that they strongly feature continuous training in communication and life skills in addition to training in job-specific skills.

Possible Solutions

1. In the context of preparing the autistic community for full time employment, for vocational training to work, it must

2. This necessarily assumes that the trainees MUST have also undergone a vocational preference inventory that identifies

a)     What they like

b)     What they can do

3. Further, for the trainee to succeed, the vocational training programme must see to it that the working environment includes

Continuous support - counselling, education and help in overcoming difficulties

4. However, the success of the any vocational training programme is strongly tied to the effectiveness of its precursor - the PRE VOCATIONAL  TRAINING PROGRAMME.

5. The pre-vocational training programme is something that is overlooked in the treatment of autistic children. Whereas the vocational training programme prepared the autistic adolescent for adult working life, the PRE-VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMME prepared her for the vocational training programme.

6. Element of a good pre-vocational training programme addresses issues such as

7. The importance of the pre-vocational training programme is that it helps the autistic child to

8. Thus, to prepare the autistic child for full-time employment, PRE-VOCATIONAL TRAINING must complement the VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMME.

9. There are two training models that are used to teach job skills to autistic children in vocational training programmes


1. Vocational training programmes fail because they attempt to develop job skills in the autistic child that will fit available jobs without regards to the child’s specific skills or abilities i.e. pushing a round peg through a square hole

2. To be successful, the vocational training programme must take into account the individual child’s specific skills and abilities. It must develop them and match the child with an appropriate job or trade i.e. pushing a round peg through a round hole

3. Continuous training in communication and life skills must be a feature of every vocational training programme.

4. A vocational training programme cannot work in isolation. It must be prefaced by an effective pre- vocational training programme.