The Friendship Network for Children Launches Vocational Program for Autistic Young Adults

Industry: Charity

10-Week Soft Skills Class Developed to Combat Unemployment among 60 to 70 Percent of Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass (PRUnderground) September 14th, 2015

The Friendship Network for Children, a mental health non-profit serving children, teens, and young adults with Autism, announced today the launch of a new soft skills vocational program for individuals ages 18 to 25. The 10-week program, which was developed to combat high levels of unemployment among individuals on the spectrum, will begin on October 19, 2015.

According to the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, two-thirds of young adults with Autism have neither a job nor plans to pursue higher education within the first two years of graduating high school. Additionally, young adults on the spectrum are less likely to be employed than their peers with other disabilities.

“Often young adults on the Autism Spectrum have the hard skills necessary to perform job tasks, but they lack the soft skills necessary to obtain and maintain a job,” said Nancy Swanberg, M.S., LMHC, executive director. “What a young adult with Autism may consider to be simply an honest answer is often perceived as insubordination to an employer. Our goal is to help fill these gaps in perception.”

The Friendship Network for Children’s soft skills vocational program is inspired by results of the organization’s pilot program, “Reel Life Skills for Autism.” The program will focus primarily on professional communication and interaction skills.

The curriculum will include identifying and accommodating concept gaps, professional communication, emotional navigation, accepting feedback, managing sensory issues and accurate reporting. Facilitators will use techniques from The Connection Formula® when teaching this curriculum. This therapeutic model was developed by Swanberg to ensure that individuals on the spectrum feel safe and understood. Awareness of diagnosis is a prerequisite for participating in the new program.

In addition to classroom learning, group projects will be used to practice job-related social engagement. The program will be facilitated by Swanberg and Tiffany Kline, M.A.

The Friendship Network for Children’s soft skills vocation program for young adults on the Autism Spectrum will take place at 300 West Main Street in Building C #4 on Mondays from 6:15 p.m. until 7:15 p.m.

Registration is open for individuals age 18 to 25 with high cognitive abilities and the cost is $600 per participant. For more information and to register, visit

About The Friendship Network for Children

Incorporated in 2004, The Friendship Network for Children, Inc. is an ambitious mental health non-profit that provides counseling, training and advocacy for children, teens, and young adults with Autism. The organization’s goal is to accept people for who they are while providing services to improve their well-being using the Connection Formula®. For more information, visit

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Nancy Swanberg, MS, LMHC

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