Making Career Development a ‘Work of Art’ | For All Youth Including Autism and ‘At Risk’ |Dr. Jackie M. Marquette

Youth with Social Emotional Challenges Pic 1 (

Many students and adults who have social and emotional challenges  such as, autism, do want to work and certainly have the capability to perform well on jobs that match their strengths.

Yet preparing youth for a career or job isn’t an exact science. Rather, I see it more as an art form, because an employment design is so personalized. Consider these areas: a. identifying a strengths and matching these to an environment, b. structure, and c. people in the workplace (acceptance), and tools for communication and adaptation. Integrating all these to meet the student requires a creative approach, which I see as a ‘work of art’. Just as creating a sculpture or painting on canvas is a ‘work of art’ so is the design of supports that personally meet a person’s needs to perform on the job.

When students take part in career and college readiness programs, the goals are set to assist students to get into a job, career, or college. Yet these programs are not enough to assist students with social and emotional challenges, thus, the programs are incomplete. For example, it is no longer sufficient to place youth in jobs or careers based upon their capability to merely do a task. When considering the criteria to choose a student as a client for a career development program, educators and counselors must be cautious on how they accept students. Criteria for program entry should not be based upon a student’s cognitive functioning, test scores/academic success, independent levels, or behavior. These criteria do not serve youth well, because these factors are incomplete to meeting students’ needs to emotionally adapt.

Rather, it is crucial to design programs that emphasize individualized plans with supports and tools that help the student gain preparation, a. self-awareness, b. self-advocacy training, c. the negotiation of a daily routine to manage on-the-job capabilities, and d. team collaboration with coworkers. A creative design with these elements becomes the rich groundwork which can lead to a student’s experience of job satisfaction and where adaptation can unfold and blossom.

I discovered when youth receive preparation for career readiness through the lens of an design of an art form, it can make a positive difference to student capability and adaptation over time. I offer eleven employment design processes that get youth involved creatively and committed to their life and career possibilities.

  1. When students are guided and supported to deeply explore career pathways, they are eagerly taking part in curiosity and the art of imagining possible work options that may become a good match to their interests and strengths.
  2. When students experience job try outs, they are in the art and practice of discovering tasks they like or don’t like, experiencing environments that appeal to them or not, identifying settings they enjoy and find overall self-satisfaction,all within exposure to multiple workplace environments. 
  3. When students make mistakes or have emotional set backs within their career search, they are in the act of experiencing and with guidance reflecting about the effects of their choice-making. 
  4. When youth feel acceptance with assistance to identify personalized supports to move through challenges, they are involved in the process of choosing and implementing. This is the art of building self-awareness, self-determination, and self-advocacy. 
  5. When students learn and practice basic self-regulation skills, they are making personal choices to create favorable outcomes for themselves, thus, choice-making
  6. When students listen to suggestions or advice from people who see the best in them or from those who have their back, they are taking part in creating their life through accepting connections and mentorship.
  7. When students make a decision about a job or career choice they are creating a vision of how they see themselves in future careers. This is a work-of- art in self-awareness development.
  8. When students take small brave steps forward into their chosen life direction, they are becoming more self-aware through creating the moments of each day.
  9. When students are aware of the power of their own choices, they are pursuing the art of self-determination. 
  10. When students become aware of their problems and must seek out a solution, they are practicing the act of speaking up for themselves. This is true even when youth rely upon a tool or another person to speak up with them. This is the practice and art of self-advocacy.
  11. When students fall down (and they will) and with support and guidance they stand up wounded or scarred, this is artful living. 

Artful living requires artful choice-making. All students should take part in this early career preparation and career development.

Every choice a student makes has an impact, regardless if the circumstance is small or highly important. A student’s progress is created in the moments of choice-making. We must teach students how choice-making is tied so closely to their self-emotional awareness because awareness impacts capability and adaptability. This is artful career preparation in action and S.A.F.E.T.Y Works.



S.A.F.E.T.Y Works(c) (words on image)

S  A recognition of a unique set of strengths and challenges

A  Self-advocacy training fostering emotional self-   

    awareness and

E  Environment exposure with predictability

T  Transforming

Y  Young adults to emotional adaptation, i.e., favorable 

    outcomes employment or college.

THIS ONLINE COURSE for PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT is for teachers, counselors, employment specialists, other professionals

If you need….transition and career implementation training for certification or CEU”s for your career, then take this course. How to Engage Youth to Discover their Dream Career and Adapt. 

Click link to see curriculum and registration

Save $50.00 Discount

Use Coupon Code: backtoschool50off    good through October 15

This course has been approved by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification

Receive 6 CEU’s


Pic 3 (image by Jackie Marquette)

Pic 3: How to Engage Youth o Discover Dream Careers and Adapt (words on image)

-7 Mini-Modules of about 3 hours total viewing time.

-6 downloadable Templates

-2 Assessment Tools, the online Strengths and Career Index© and downloadable  & The Alternative Self-Awareness Assessment© (ASAA). Downloadable

-The Golden Wheel©, & The Predictability and Engagement Timeline©

-Completion: A Student Checklist, A downloadable

-Downloadable Course Workbook (107 pgs)


End Note:

I believe I bring something unique to the career and adulthood readiness table for youth with Autism Spectrum and Social and Emotional Challenges. This work is based upon my research in which I created an expansivestrengths based approach with user-friendly tools to support students interests, emotional self-awareness, and self-advocacy. I call this model SAFETY Works©.

In my research, I listened to the voices of hundreds of persons with autism, their advocate/parents and professionals who worked with these students. I wanted to learn how they searched to find meaning within their lives and discovered or created resources to reach goals and adapt. I used the data to create user-friendly tools to help guide young adults to have their right job/career, training/college, and/or to live both independently andinterdependently.

In my personal experience with my autistic son supporting and guiding him, I learned to listen. Over the years, he taught me how to support his self-determination, self-advocacy and adaptation. He personally experienced many trials and errors with set backs and progress. It hasn’t been a walk in a rose garden, but with supports he walked his own journey and has been a professional practicing accomplished abstract artist now for 17 years.

The tools I offer in S.A.F.E.T.Y Works came out of my work and my life’s experiences and I want to pass them to people with autism their advocates and the professionals who work with them.





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Helping Youth Get Employed | Professional Development | 6 CEU’S

Helping Youth Get Employed | Professional Development | 6 CEU’S

Announcing my ONLINE COURSE: ‘How to Engage Youth to Discover their Dream Career and Adapt’

Are you a counselor, educator, or a parent seeking ways to help youth with Autism Spectrum and special needs access their own blueprint for career preparation?

With this course, you will receive:

-Tools for student matched job/career options:

-Tools to create on-the job predictability for adaptation,

-Tools to create student acceptance in workplaces and community settings,

-Tools for building connections, and

-Checklists and tools to promote self-acceptance, self-advocacy, and self-satisfaction in life.

This course has been approved for 6 CEU Credit Hours by the

Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification

See Curriculum and Registration:

Receive  $50.00 Discount

Use Coupon Code: backtoschool50off

For Purchase orders or questions? 

Contact me: Dr. Jackie M. Marquette

Connecting Youth to their Strengths, Careers, and Emotional Adaptation


Jackie 20sec video august 12



Work Readiness for Students with Autism  Spectrum, Developmental Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’: A Professional Resource Checklist

Work Readiness for Students with Autism  Spectrum, Developmental Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’: A Professional Resource Checklist

Check each one that applies.

1. My student/clients can often see good job/career possibilities for themselves. ___________

2. My student/clients generally rely upon people (natural) supports in the workplace in order to adjust or adapt to their job.  ___________

3. My student/clients generally have challenging behaviors which makes it difficult to identify an appropriate job match.___________

4. Most of my student/clients need structure in order to perform on their job. ___________

5. My student/clients often show a lack of motivation or inspiration to do what it takes to get hired or to keep their job. ___________

6. My student/clients often lack effective ways to speak up for themselves. ___________

7. Most of my student/clients can name 3-5 interests or strengths they see in themselves. ___________

8. I see my student/clients abilities and strengths, but these aren’t an easy match to jobs/careers they can do. ___________

9. Most of my student/clients have a desire to get a job or to go to college. ___________

10. My student/clients have shown anxiety and/or have melt downs in one or more of the following: a. learning a new task, b. working around unfamiliar people, c. in new settings, d. or when changes suddenly occur on the job site. ___________

11. My student/clients usually know the kind of job they want and can do. ___________

12. Many of my student/clients place high demands of ‘independence’ or ‘do it myself’ attitudes in which they have a difficult time measuring up to. ___________

13. Though my student/clients exhibit challenges, they rely on people around them to believe in their abilities and strengths. ___________

If you checked 2 or more of  these numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12  – your students could benefit from S.A.F.E.T.Y. WORKS (c)

I would love to share several tools with you to use with students in your Career Readiness Programs. These tools with curriculum can provide increased insight and clarity in preparing your student/client for Career Readiness/College, Job Development, and Job Maintenance. 


Here is a Free Gift  I want to offer your student/client with Autism Spectrum. Students:

Fun Free Quiz–How well do you know the value of your strengths?

Thank you for reading my blog.


End Note:

I believe I have  something unique to bring to the Career and College Readiness table for youth with Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disabilities. This blog represents a strengths model to support personal preferences and emotional needs, known as SAFETY Works©.

In my research, I listened to the voices of hundreds individuals with autism and their advocate/parents about how they found meaning and how they wanted to live their lives. Over three decades of study and experience, I used the data to create these tools to help people facilitate getting the right job, pursue college, and/or to live interdependently. With personal experience, I have a an adult son with autism who has become an accomplished artist.  He taught me how to support his self-determination, self-advocacy and adaptation. We personally experienced many trials and errors with set backs and progress. I want to pass these tools to people with autism and their advocates to create and live their adult lives their unique way.

Please offer your comments, because I want to hear them. I spend a lot of time writing. If you like my blog and think it can help other people, please share it.

Again thank you for reading blog.


Emotional Supports for ASD during Loss


Emotional Supports for ASD during Loss

When individuals with ASD face events of loss, emotional supports are necessary to assist their adaptation.

Katie was a golden retriever, Trent’s sweet companion dog and friend for 15 years. She left us on December 14, 2016. She became my autistic son’s pet and a member of our family when she was just an eight-week old puppy.

Sadly, for the past several years, Katie developed arthritis that caused her much pain to stand from a sitting position. This impacted her ability to enjoy walks in the park. Within the past six months she suffered from cancerous growths on her body. Then the last week of her life these growths grew in her mouth. Due to her deteriorating condition, we chose euthanasia for our beloved Katie.

Because of Trent’s love for her, I was deeply concerned how he would respond to Katie no longer being with us. We believed it was important to help him understand and self express his emotions, thus, to appreciate the love he had for her.

Emotions drive everything we do. It is human nature to have emotions, but to recognize them, and to manage them to move through difficulties is the essence of adaptation. It was my intention to help promote Trent’s response to losing Katie and to gain emotional adaptation through this tragic event. In contrast, if we did not bring attention to his emotions, I believe it would only make it worse overtime.

By facing the loss head on, these initiated actions enabled all of us in the family to manage our own grief and emotions. Equally important, these actions helped to enable Trent’s ability to self express and grieve in his own way over Katie.

Seven Actions:

1. We involved Trent in the goodbye process. The morning before we took Katie to the veterinarian, I brought Katie to Trent’s house so he could see and pet her one last time. I took pictures of him with her so he would later see the photo of saying his goodbyes.

2. We openly showed our own emotions for Katie. My emotions were raw and deep. I knew it was important to honor my own emotions I had for Katie, for my own well-being, and to help Trent.

3. The day after she died, Trent and I wrote a story together about Katie. We wrote about all the good times, the special food she liked, the walks and the playtime Katie loved. Our story was about acknowledging Katie’s personality and the love she shared with us.

4. We created a legacy. We found ways that Trent could remember the moments he had with Katie. It was important that Trent remember all the good times with Katie and his love for her. Although he has difficulty expressing his emotions and because of his limited expressive language, we chose images to make a video that would enable his ability to self express.

5. I searched my computer files for photos of Katie. We selected photos of Katie throughout years. We placed them in a special scrap book to be placed on the coffee table in Trent’s house. The book will be a beautiful reminder of the times we all shared life with Katie.

6. I made a video about Katie for beautiful memories. We used photos from the past and photos of the last 36 hours that Katie lived.

7. For our last day with her, we celebrated Katie and treated her to an ice cream party with her best pet friend Daisy Mae. Katie also enjoyed her last sausage, egg, and gravy breakfast. We all enjoyed a day of just holding and petting her.

During stressful times or events of loss, we all need emotional supports. These actions helped us with our loss. Yet, Trent relied upon us to offer activities to manage his emotions of losing Katie and honoring Katie’s presence in his life.

Individuals with ASD need emotional supports, especially when they have difficulty understanding the loss or in verbally expressing their emotions about their loss. The more we help individuals of all ages with autism recognize emotions and self express their feelings of loss, the greater emotional adaptation and growth can occur. Honoring emotions enhances well-being.

Our video, A Celebration of Katie’.

Jackie M. Marquette, Ph.D.

Blog: Twenty-five Effective Career Preparations that Promote Autism Spectrum Employment

Twenty-Five Effective Career Preparations that Promote Autism Spectrum Employment

Reprinted by permission from Different Brains.

Sing your song

“Sing your song, turn your interests into fulfilling experiences, live the life of your own and one that you own.”

Dr. Jackie Marquette

Marquette Index, LLC.

Creator of the Marquette Strengths and Career Index 

Research | Consultant | Speaker | 4 time veteran of adult transition (39 year son with autism)

502 417-6063

Believe you can move to higher interests

“Believe you can move to higher interests and capabilities, or you will always be where you are now.”

Dr. Jackie Marquette

Marquette Index, LLC.

Creator of the Marquette Strengths and Career Index 

Research | Consultant | Speaker | 4 time veteran of adult transition (39 year son with autism)

502 417-6063

#Employees with #ASD

“In job settings that are personally fitting, #success is likely when the individual feels #appreciate, #valued, #involved, #challenged, #mentored and #empowered.”

Dr. Jackie Marquette

Marquette Index, LLC.

Creator of the Marquette Strengths and Career Index 

Research | Consultant | Speaker | 4 time veteran of adult transition (39 year son with autism)

502 417-6063