By Jackie M. Marquette, Ph.D.
Mary is a delightful 19 year old woman who has autism. Now that she has graduated high school, she has tremendous fear that is preventing her from pursuing a career goal. Her days are filled with hiding in her room drawing and reading. Although she feels safe there, she really doesn’t like hiding in her room all day.
She had overwhelming fear about entering the community. Unexpected occurrences, sensory output from the environment was painful to her ears. What’s more, she feared interactions with unfamiliar people. She dreaded shopping trips because the idea of responding to a clerk or someone else was too much to handle.
Mary has a talent of drawing people’s faces. The detail is amazing. Many of her family members have her art exhibited in their homes. Despite the obstacles, Mary has a deep desire to pursue her talent.
With the Strengths and Career Index, she discovered all her strengths: talent in arts, personal preferences, and self-emotional awareness that altogether can support her talent. She learned about tech tools that meet her personal preferences, reduces her anxiety, and brings ease to her life. Today Mary is in college and developing her talent. She has increased her adaptability, has more positive experiences and a greater life satisfaction.
Do you have fears that hold you back from a job or a career?
Do you, or someone you know with autism or challenges (a student, client, or loved one) have fears? Are they consuming you? or Are they consuming the individual you know?
Try this activity to sort through fears.
List the fear(s)________________________________________________
Is the fear real (for example, if you pet a barking angry dog, you might get bit.) Write about the bad thing that will happen if you face your fear.
Is your fear unreal? (for example, the outcome may leave you to be uncomfortable for a moment, wait a while, or tolerate someone briefly). Write about the uncomfortable thing or feeling you might have to face. The fear may not be damaging or harmful, but may cause you to be uncomfortable.
If you have a fear in entering settings, do these things:
- Reach out to someone to help you sort through your fears.
- Take the Strengths and Career Index to reveal strengths and personal preferences that can support you to feel safe and overcome obstacles.
This piece was originally published here, and is being republished with the author’s kind permission.