[COVID-19] Seven Empowering Actions We Can Give Teens

Hello Everybody

With the Stay at Home Order Youth need:

-a structure to do school work, exercise, leisure, and task(s) to contribute to the household.

-validation for any or all low emotions they feel: anxiety, anger, powerlessness.

-a game plan to recognize and name the full range of emotions they experience.

-an approach to feel and recognize the energy levels tied to activities/tasks.

-a plan to avoid letting low emotions take over and to know the steps to gain control.

-tools that will allow them to gain perspective over their emotions and have the emotions they want. [reframing]

-a process to see options and make daily decisions on their own behalf.

Many youth don’t know this question to ask: “How do I live in a world that is so different from what I knew before?” Youth need reassurance from us giving them hope for a good life and to believe in their own power to adapt to a world they are living in now.

The sooner youth have a grasp of their own power, the sooner they can shape their daily life and their goals. Here is my resource.


To see additional resources for Distance Learning, go to:

‘Youth Rescue’ Teachers Pay Teachers’ Store

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Jackie’s website

I love creating tools to invite youth to experience:

*self-awareness to help direct their decisions, emotionally cope, and socially adapt.

*self-value to know they matter greatly.

*self-advocacy to express their voice and choice about what they need, what they enjoy, and who they want to become.

Thank you for reading my blog




After decades of teaching youth with disabilities in all grades and researching what youth with autism spectrum need to make better work adaptations, Dr. Jackie Marquette discovered what youth need to acquire employment. It is as simple as a two sided coin. One side is for employers to acknowledge a candidate’s skills, strengths, and support needs, and the other side of the coin involves preparing youth to see their skills and interests from a wide range of strengths, personalized supports, and gainful social emotional awareness. Jackie has an adult son with autism and she has walked the walk, with ups and downs, failures and successes. Trent had employment at Meijer, a retail store for 13 years with innovative supports and for 19 years Trent has created abstract paintings for his art business. Many youth fall short in getting employed or getting in the right workplace environment. Rather, it is the personally matched opportunities and experiences with personal/social awareness preparation that enables adaptation and self-advocacy. With high youth unemployment, we all suffer. Very few educators, counselors, and employment professionals understand why or how to prevent the high youth unemployment rate.


Dr. Jackie Marquette writes curriculum for student career preparation as it relates to skill development and social emotional learning. She is the founder of the Transition Career Academy teaching online courses and face-to-face workshops. Her trainings are approved for 6 CE’s by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). She has been endorsed by highly recognized colleagues in the disability field for skills in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Training, and Research. Her extensive experiences span teaching students with learning/developmental disabilities and ‘at risk’, spearheading autism community workplace projects, implementing school district transition programs, consulting and using her own tools, one-to-one with youth seeking employment through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. She researched and interviewed over 800 youth with autism and their advocates, professionals, family members. As the owner of Youth Rescue© DBA Marquette Index, LLC, her program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders, employers, and youth with their advocates. The purpose is to enhance everyone’s performance to make a meaningful difference in schools, companies, and the lives of all youth including those on who struggle socially and emotionally.




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 (pixabay.com)

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.


SAFETY WORKS PIC 2 (pixabay.com)

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 https://www.drjackiemarquette.com/courses/

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.

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackiemarquettephd/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/drJackiemarquette1/



GET FREE STUFF and updates by Jackie


Thank you for taking time to read my article.

Next June, What Will Your Students Say About Their Career Transition Preparation?  | Autism Spectrum and Special Needs | Jackie M. Marquette Ph.D.

Don’t ignore emotional well-being and adaptation in preparing youth with Autism Spectrum and Special Needs for jobs, careers, and college. My article give 5 necessary points.

[Actual Persons]:

An 18-year old male with autism received a scholarship to study chemistry at a prominent university. After 6 weeks, his parents were called to come and get him because he rarely left his room. He was found fearfully curled up in the corner of his dorm room.

A 23-year old male with autism quit his job at a big box store after 15 months of being recognized as a good employee. A new manager failed to inform him about a change that would effect him directly. The sudden change placed the young man with new work tasks and among new unfamiliar coworkers. He didn’t adapt.

A 16 year old female attempted suicide several times because she lived in fear of being bullied. Although she is alright now, she still becomes anxious with the memories that she can’t let go.

Of each one of these case studies, students were not able to emotionally adapt. I believe a gap exists between what students receive and what they need in order to make effective school transitions into the adult world. 

Most school’s career transition programs focus on cognitive levels, academic strengths, and test scores, but these factors don’t prepare youth for the external demands to socially and emotionally adapt in this world.

Numerous studies in Positive Psychology and Disability on decision-making of people with intellectual disability and Autism Spectrum indicate these students exhibit limited social and emotional skills which greatly limits their ability to make decisions. When a student has limitations in making a decision, this greatly impacts their emotional state. Thus, studies indicate a students’ health and safety can be jeopardized, making youth a high risk to suffer harm. 

The Transition Gap: 

Student career effectiveness lies in the gaps of preparation in exploring career interests in safe settings and adapting emotionally to attain career goals.

Here are a five important objectives that may help fill the gap to prepare youth in school career transition programs. 

1. Our youth rely on safe exposure to new settings, new tasks, and new unfamiliar people.

Peter Vermeulen in his article https://frontline-ireland.com/autism-as-context-blindness-by-peter-vermeulen/ writes about Autism as Context Blindness and indicates an autism friendly environment to be 90% clarity and 10% predictability and 10% normal friendliness. 

Design a plan with the student to take part in a stress-free setting; which may be an event, work setting, or a daily living activity. Include predictable steps for a task and among people who are supportive and encouraging to the student.

2. Youth rely on tools that can create predictability and clarity in order to make good decisions. Design the environment to be clear and well understood so the student can navigate and adapt. 

3. Youth rely upon opportunities to have positive job tryout experiences where they can perform and feel safe. Promote learning within a safe context in order the student can practice and perform. Why? Because when clarity and predictability are in place, the student feels emotions of safety.

4. Youth rely upon self-awareness practice in order to self-advocate. This practice includes a focus on recognition of one’s emotions. The process of self-advocating requires making decisions to move through challenging situations. Create opportunities for student self-awareness practice. Dr. Barry M. Prizant in his book, Uniquely Human: A different way of seeing autism writes that developing self-awareness is one of the top priorities he suggests for parents of children with autism to build success for adulthood. 

Students need to practice recognition of h-her emotions, both low and high. Guide student to reflect upon the bright spots from their experience regardless if the experience was satisfying or unsatisfying. Point out to the student the bright spots and lessons to be learned so the experience can be more positive next time.

5. As a leader/professional set aside time to focus on your own self-awareness. I am far from perfect, but I engage in self-awareness practice daily. Reflect upon your decisions. Note the decisions you made that led to a good outcome, or decisions that turned into less than favorable outcomes with frustrating emotions. Don’t sweep the emotions under the rug. Notice them and the gift they deliver.

I began this article with this question, Next June, What Will Your Students Say About Their Career Transition Readiness? 

As a leader preparing youth for school transition, what do you hope your young person/student will say about their career readiness experiences? What story do you hope they tell about their progress and eagerness to go out into the world of work or college studies?


This course has been approved by the Commission on 

Rehabilitation Counselor Certification 

Receive 6 CEU’s 

How to Engage Youth to Discover Dream Careers and Adapt 

This course is PERFECT for you if you want to get these specific results: To get youth ready for a job/career with tools that promote belief in themselves, enhanced self-awareness, on-the-job capability, self-advocacy and emotional adaptation. I created this course about things I know, and only about things that have been my tools, and my path.

Click link to see curriculum and registration


Receive $50.00 Discount

Use Coupon Code: backtoschool50off

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/drJackiemarquette1/


LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackiemarquettephd/


GET FREE STUFF and updates by Jackie


Connecting Youth to their Strengths, Careers, and Adaptation


Dr. Jackie Marquette, is an Autism Career Strategist, online course creator, researcher, and parent of an adult son with autism. In 2007 she received a Ph.D. from University of Louisville. Jackie has 3 decades of professional experience as a teacher in special education, district transition consultant, consultation with young adults and their families, an autism evaluation service to the clients of Vocational Rehabilitation counselors. She has 4 decades of personal experience guiding and supporting her son who has autism to live a life of well-being and self-determination. The tools she created are powerful and can: 1) assure the student/young adult of their career possibilities, uniqueness, and one-of-a-kind self-expression and, 2) guide and support a student/young adult to take steps to emotionally adapt, progress, and safely pursue a job/career.

Did someone forward you this email? Sign up here. https://www.drjackiemarquette.com/get-my-newsletter/

9 Ways to Improve Student Transition: Autism Spectrum, Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’

Do you work with students in transition and worry about how they will get or keep a job after high school? This blog will offer new perspective. Briefly I will reveal the problem and next the 9 solutions.

Student transition to a job or college in our society operates on the ‘Vertical Approach’, which is an upward movement from one phase of life to the next. Examples include: high school student to college student, or high school student to employee. But the vertical approach doesn’t work for every student. I introduce to you the ‘Lateral Approach’ to increase transition outcomes.

Problem Revealed
According to data reported in article
more Kentucky high schoolers are graduating, but not prepared for college or the workforce.

Data show 90 percent of Kentucky’s students graduated, but only 60 percent were college or career ready. The numbers were much worse with African-American students and students disabilities, with career readiness rates of 32 percent and 25 percent.

The national level data is equally discouraging for students with disabilities.

Nine Solutions
1. Use ‘a lateral approach, a creative process that applies a step-by-step approach to enable student to make effective transitions. Let me offer an analogy. Just as a car that comes to a dead stop at the end of a street, the driver must use its reverse gear to get out of being stuck. A driver wouldn’t use the reverse to drive all the time, only when needed. The same process can be applied to students with disabilities in transition. We must create Career Readiness (CR) Programs using the ‘lateral approach’ (creative steps) that move h/her forward. For some students, effectiveness in transition is dependent upon an art form, requiring school personnel to think ‘out of the box’. Thus, the ‘vertical approach’ is not eliminated for students, it is only enhanced by the ‘lateral approach’.

How can school personnel use the lateral approach to enhance effective transitions for students with Autism Spectrum, Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’?

2. Use assessments that look beyond academic areas and look into multiple intelligences that draw upon student curiosities about careers and noting their experiences in career exploration.
Drop using a student’s IQ as a criteria to determine if the student can enter and/or benefit from a CR Program.

3. Use tools that reflect a student’s personal preferences and the need for supports to enhance predictability, focus, and on-the-job decision-making.
Drop using a perceived functional cognitive adaptive ability about a student. This perception can lead to denying h-her access to a CR program.

4. Use and practice acceptance that all students can enter and benefit from a CR program.
Drop criteria that denies a student’s entry into CR program based upon h-her family’s low income household or situation.
Drop demographic labels that deny student CR access: students of color, ethnicity, or disability.

5. Use tools that help student self-evaluate their own individuality, strengths, and unique abilities.
Drop academic ability and test scores as criteria for entry into CR programs.
Drop using diagnoses/co-morbidity as a reason a student cannot benefit from a CR program.

6. Use strength-based assessments and see the student’s unique abilities and interests that can lead to a career to explore.
Drop seeing behavior as a criteria to be corrected and changed before a student enters into a CR program. A student’s behaviors may change with new engagement and new interests.

7. Use actions to show that you believe in the student. See student as one who can make strides in a CR program.
Drop judgement that may instill disbelief in h-herself. Your belief about the student having strengths and abilities can motivate the student to initiate or follow through with steps required to get employed and face the on-the-job obstacles. Promote self-determination.

8. Use student self-evaluations to encourage student self-awareness. When the student gains self-awareness with self-advocacy activities, h-she is introduced to safe and effective ways of responding to on-the-job demands or problems. When self-advocacy is practiced, accountability to a job or college can be accomplished.
Drop any perceptions you may have about performance of task skills equals overall employment success. Rather, it is the self-awareness development and self-advocacy training that promotes social and emotional capability to adapt to a job or college.

9. Use the framework of ‘interdependence’ in Career Readiness Programs. Students need to hear from you the professional that we are all interdependent and rely on supports.
Drop the requirement and stigma that they must achieve ‘independence’ in all things. Teach students when they work and contribute among others, they are showing increased ability to perform on the job. We live in a very interdependent world, so should individuals with disabilities recognize that it is acceptable to use ‘interdependence’ to pursue their goals.

1. Teachers/ Professionals/Parents —Do you want your students to know their strengths and careers that match?
Give your students the Strength and Career Index©
for only $9.99 use Discount Code: INDEX65 Go to marquettestrengthsindex.com

2. If you want to learn more about Jackie giving a training to use these unique career readiness tools with curriculum, call me at 502 417-6063 or email me drjackie@marquettestrengthsindex.com

3. Look for my weekly program on Linked In ‘Autism Interdependence Matters’

Lastly, I look forward in emailing you information about courses I am offering, tools, and videos.

Thank you.
Have a nice day.

Jackie Marquette Ph.D.
Autism Interdependent Strategist

Facing the Fear of Uncertainty


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:

  1. Reach out to someone to help you sort through your fears.
  2. Take the Strengths and Career Index to reveal strengths and personal preferences that can support you to feel safe and overcome obstacles.


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.