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The Role of a Job Coach
A job coach is an individual who is employed to help people with disabilities learn, accommodate, and perform their work duties. A job coach may work with individuals one-on-one and/or in a small group. In addition to working on skills related to performing specific job tasks, a job coach also helps with interpersonal skills necessary in the workplace. This is particularly important for employees on the autism spectrum. The coach will assess the worker's strengths and needs or may rely on an already completed assessment.
Usually a job coach will work with an individual both in and outside of the workplace. Before entering a place of employment, many autistic individuals can benefit from specific training to help them learn what to expect in the work environment. In this case, the job coach may visit the place of employment to understand the requirements of the job and work environment. The coach will then work with the autistic individual to prepare. The job coach may also accompany the individual to the work site. This allows the coach to directly observe the abilities of the employee and any areas needing improvement. The employee is able to receive immediate feedback and assistance.
While the benefits of a job coach to an autistic individual are evident, job coaches also benefit employers. By helping to support employees with disabilities, job coaches free up personnel time which would otherwise be needed for training and hopefully improve the experience for all involved.