When parents are given a diagnosis of autism, very often they feel devastated. If the immediate future is not daunting enough, they fear that they will be taking care of the child for the rest of their lives.
For those with low-functioning autism, this is a possibility, but not a certainty.
Most people with autism will master basic skills. Many can perform complex tasks, but to be truly independent and not require a provider and caretaker for life requires employment.
It is estimated that up to 85% of adults with Asperger’s syndrome do not have full-time jobs. Autistics who do find work are often underemployed.
Autistics who make it past the interview process, often face more obstacles on the job.
People with autism are often the target of bullies in the workplace. Jobs that require good customer service skills are often too stressful.
Employers might be hesitant to hire a person with autism, fearing that the condition will require huge accommodations and that the person will not be competent to handle the work.
Perhaps they would be more apt to hire an autistic employee if they knew the ways in which their business could benefit.
Autistic employees are able to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time, long after their non-autistic counterparts are bored and daydreaming.
They have an eye for details. This means spotting things that others miss, making them great troubleshooters and editors.
They don’t waste their employer’s time. An autistic employee is at the job to work.
While their co-workers are gossiping by the water cooler, they are sitting at their desks, meeting deadlines and producing quality products.
Accommodations may be as simple as allowing headphones or ear protectors, dimmer lighting in their workspace and a low traffic area to work.
Most autistics and people with Asperger’s syndrome, have a good work ethic and are proud to show off their skills.
If employers truly understood what an autistic person could bring to their business, they would be lining up to hire them, as some progressive businesses are already doing.
A diagnosis of autism would still be a challenge, but would not be a barrier that prevents full-time employment.
Where have all the dedicated, hardworking employees gone? They are sitting at home, because they stuttered during the interview and could not make eye contact.
Neurodiversity in the workplace benefits everyone.