Finding the right job for someone with High-Functioning Autism by Aaron Tanner
The statistics for employment for adults with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism are grim. Some statistics I have read put the unemployment rate for those with the condition at 85% in the United States.
It is essential, however, that your child with Aspergers be placed not in any random job but one that plays to their strengths to combat difficulties with social skills and sensory processing. Due to the deficiencies with multi-tasking, jobs requiring short term memory are bad for a good majority for those with Aspergers. These difficulties would rule out positions such as being a cashier at a grocery store or cooking at a restaurant.
Dr. Temple Grandin has a list of different jobs she recommends for someone with Aspergers, which can be found here, due to the strength of long term memory and the ability to be super focused on detail. For example, a person with Aspergers with good visual thinking would be great for blue-collar jobs, such as repairing equipment, or white-collar jobs, such as computer programming or animation.
Another set of jobs Dr. Grandin recommends, especially for those who are more auditory thinkers, are jobs requiring dealing with research and facts. Journalism is one of the positions listed, especially if done freelance, as detail and accuracy are required. Even with many publications moving online, there will always be a need for writers.
Finding employment for someone with Aspergers that matches their strengths is crucial for their success on the job. I encourage those with Aspergers or a parent with a child with Aspergers to research the types of jobs that are suitable for people on the spectrum and see if the person’s strengths match that particular job. Other considerations should also occur when looking for a job, such as the amount of social interaction vs. the person with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism’s social abilities and how sensory-stimulating a particular job environment is vs. whether the person has sensory processing issues or not.
Although running work at the dental lab is a challenge due to the sensory issues, I am usually accurate in getting the job to the appropriate departments due to my eye for detail. Where I excel is in journalism with my role of working on the employee newsletter and freelance writing for Alabama Living as the jobs are self-paced and I can concentrate for long periods of times for those particular tasks. With my writing jobs, I am able to pick out what notes and facts are essential to the story and know how to make a story flow.
If you are a parent of a child with Aspergers or have Aspergers yourself, have you had success in finding and maintaining a job? Comment below on what works and does not work when it comes to finding a job.