Supporting Transitions: Making Internships Accessible

Supporting Transitions: Making Internships Accessible

This resource is a short handout from a past workshop about making internships accessible for candidates with autism or developmental disabilities.  For more details, please email Supporting Transitions at or

Making your existing internships accessible to applicants with autism or developmental disabilities is easier than you think.  Here are some quick tips and best practices:


The Job Description:

    • Review your job description for unnecessary barriers (ie. specific diplomas, lifting 50lbs)
    • Share your finished job description with service organizations to expand your candidate pool

The Interview Process:

    • Remove the mystery – send interview questions and location specifics to the candidate in advance
    • Keep an open mind – particularly with social skills. What skills are needed for this position?

A Supported Work Environment:

    • Train and onboard in the intern’s workspace
    • An organized workspace in a quiet area is ideal (even better without fluorescent lights!)
    • Sensory needs – provide a good quiet area to take a break as an option
    • Establish clear communication about comfort in the workplace from the first day

Visual Supports:

    • Provide an employee handbook (or at least a list of rules)
    • Visuals are helpful – provide handouts of forms and documents that will be used on the job
    • Allow/Prompt the employee to take photos/screenshots when training on tasks

Best Practices:

    • Structure and routine are important
    • Practice patience and understanding, particularly in social settings or around “unwritten rules” in the office
    • Allow the intern to try a task while you are present to ask questions

Communicate frequently and directly!

Broaden Your Candidate Pool by Sharing Your Job Posting with:

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