How To Create More Tech Careers For Autistic Individuals
Many tech companies know how good of a fit autistic people can be for their workforces and have … developed hiring initiatives and specific practices to attract employees who are autistic.
For more than 20 years, the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre has proclaimed that autism is often associated with “minds wired for science” However, it’s important to note that ‘autistic’ doesn’t automatically equal talent for technology. Just like those who are neurotypical, everyone has different skillsets and interests.
Still, there is truth to the general association that autistic individuals are well suited to work with computers and computer technology.
“I’ve noticed many people with autism who work in IT, including myself, like to work in the industry because it doesn’t involve customer service, interaction, and multi-tasking,” said Asha Sreedhar, autism advocate and quality associate at SAP Labs India. “However, there are many fields that individuals with autism are also drawn to, like finance, education, engineering, music, art, etc.”
How To Find A Neurodiverse Workplace
From small firms to large corporations, every business can benefit from a workplace culture that embraces neurodiversity. In fact, a growing number of companiesincluding Microsoft, SAP, and Walgreensare reaching out to offer jobs for people with autism due to the differing perspectives and skills neurodiverse people bring to the table.
If you’re looking for a supportive work environment as someone with autism, it’s important to start by recognizing your many strengths. Some of the following skills might seem familiar to you:
- accuracy and attention to detail
- concentration and deep focus
- visual skills and recollection of details
- in-depth knowledge or skills in specific areas
- the ability to recognize patterns
- creativity and out-of-the-box thinking
- honesty and commitment
The best jobs for people with autism spectrum disorder will utilize your in-depth knowledge of your field and appreciate your unique talents. Also look for jobs that have well-defined goals and that methodically track and measure your progress. Companies that place more emphasis on a portfolio of work rather than on traditional concepts about personality during the hiring process might also be a good fit for you.
Animator / Motion Designer
Another one is for creatives and for people looking for work-from-home jobs for autistic adults.
Animation involves using moving images to tell a story and create a plot. With technological advances, animation is now done with the use of computer-generated imagery. Just like architecture, an animator must love to design and draw images ranging from images of persons, animals, inanimate objects which will be displayed in the movie.
To be an animator, you should have the following characteristics:
- Graphics software skills
Animation should be done by those on the spectrum who are Visual thinkers, there really is no better match. Where visual thinkers become animators, a lot of self-expression is done and much creativity is birthed. Most of the animation movie characters we love and watch on TV are the result of creative visual thinkers.
Non-Visual thinkers should totally steer clear of this area of employment as it is contradictory to their strong points. For those who have high-functioning autism or Aspergers, and those with poor verbal skills, this could be an option so far they are great with designing.
Average Annual Salary expectation as an animator in the U.S.: $56,886
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Best Employers For People With Autism 2020
Unbelievably, it is estimated that fewer than 1 in 6 adults on the Autism Spectrum have full-time work. The statistics recently released in the National Autism Indicators Report from Drexel University are even more disheartening. Less than 16% of those polled for the report had full-time paid work, while only 32% had paid work of any kind. Of those working, 51% insisted their skills are higher than what their current job offers. And most incredibly, 77% of those are unemployed say they want to work!
Fortunately, a growing number of small businesses, large companies, and vast corporations are realizing the value of hiring neurodiverse individuals. Indeed, the Autism at Work program at JPMorgan Chase found that as a whole, their more than 300 neurodiverse employees are 48% faster and 92% more productive than their neurotypical employees. For those on the Autism Spectrum who want to work, this shift in general corporate thinking is a big positive. And while there is certainly much more progress that needs to be made, its time to recognize those paving the way. Keep scrolling for the 30 best employers for people with autism.
Start Your Job Search
We are in the business of finding work for people with disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Hopefully, this list has given you a starting point. Take a look at our job search portal for the best jobs for autistic adults that you may be interested in!
- disABLEDperson, Inc. is a 5013 non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the high unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities.
- “We are simply here to serve.”
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Instrument Tuning And Repair
Average annual salary: $39,770
Job outlook: 7.1%
What do people who repair instruments do?
As implied in the occupation title, instrument tuning and repair is a field that involves making sure that people can enjoy their instruments to maximum capacity by ensuring that they are tuned and repaired.
Is this a good job for autistic adults?
This job, as with many other jobs on the list, requires attention to detail. Piano tuning, for example, is an extremely detailed job. However, for someone who enjoys memorizing or finding patterns, tuning pianos or other instruments can be highly rewarding, and it is one of the best jobs for autistic people.
Basic Facts About Autism
Autism, officially known as autism spectrum disorder , is a developmental condition characterized by restricted or repetitive behaviors as well as difficulties with communication and social interaction. Autistic people have widely varying degrees of social, verbal, behavioral, and sensory challenges. The combination and severity of symptoms can differ significantly from person to person, which is why it’s known as a spectrum disorder. Some people with ASD are completely non-verbal and require constant care, while others experience relatively mild challenges and can function well independently.
High-functioning autism is a commonly used but not medically recognized term. “High-functioning” usually refers to a person on the spectrum who has good verbal abilities and can carry out basic activities of daily living without much support.
Asperger’s syndrome used to be recognized as a separate disorder that shared many of the same characteristics as autism, but in a less severe form. One of the main distinctions of Asperger’s vs. autism was the absence of a significant speech delay in childhood. People with Asperger’s generally begin to speak on a typical or even early timeline, but they tend to have unusual speech patterns and take language very literally. Like all people with autism, they also have difficulty interpreting body language and picking up on non-verbal social cues.
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Employment Support For Autistic Individuals
People who have an Autistic Spectrum Condition , including Asperger Syndrome, have many qualities which can make them excellent employees. For this reason it is important to provide employment support for autistic individuals.
Some general attributes are:
- able to follow structured projects
- attention to detail
- high levels of technical ability
- highly discriminating senses
- precise use of language
The Autism Strategy of 2010 shows the commitment of the government in helping people with autism into employment. One of its strategic goals is helping adults with autism into work.
Some people with ASC have particular difficulties in the workplace. These are usually centred around activities which require an understanding of the complexities of human behaviour and could include some of the following:
- interviewing techniques
- socialising at break times and outside of work
- understanding different organisational cultures
Jobs For Autistic Adults
Thankfully, public awareness of the wide spectrum of abilities of those with autism has gone up in recent years.
Gone are the days when autism was a scary word. People now realize that while some with autism have limited ability to work, many on the spectrum, can perform any job they wish and excel.
So, what are some of the best jobs for autistic adults? Keep reading to find out.
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Encouraging Tech Companies To Hire Autistic People
According to the study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Participation Among … College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is evidence to support that individuals with autism are an untapped source of STEM talent. It states, “young adults with an ASD had a higher proportion of majoring in STEM-related fields than any other disability groups.”
There has been a greater effort to hire more diverse employees in recent years. These initiatives should include neurodivergent and autistic individuals. Not just because hiring those on the spectrum demonstrates your genuine commitment to diversity, but it can be beneficial to your company on the whole.
âIndividuals with autism tend to have strong attention-to-detail skills and can be quick learners, which would benefit a wide array of companies and industries,â said Sreedhar. âAs for the technology or IT industries, there are many jobs in these industries which would suit them because of their repetitive or detail-oriented nature.â
Examples Of Good Jobs For People With Autism
These strengths provide people with autism a valuable set of skills that can be useful in many job roles. They are able to work efficiently and with accuracy, something regarded highly in certain roles, and can offer diverse perspectives on complex problems due to their logical approach to situations.
So, what are good jobs for people with autism?
Web Developer:Data Officer:Policy Adviser:Copywriter:
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Career Options For People With Autism
People on the autism spectrum have many unique abilities and talents, though the traditional job-seeking and interview process can make it challenging for those skills to shine through. These individuals often have communication styles that are outside the norm. They do not exhibit typical interviewee qualities, such as an outgoing personality, good eye contact, and strong communication skills.
As a result, over 80% of adults with autism spectrum disorder are unemployed or underemployed. Neurodiverse candidates are often looked over because they do not present in typical ways during formal interviews and are not able to effectively demonstrate their true skills.
Companies and programs, such as Autism at Work, are striving to expand the standard interview process to allow for greater inclusion of neurodiverse employees in the workplace. SAP, for example, implemented the Autism at Work program in 2013. They have experienced great success internationally hiring people on the spectrum and retaining 90% of those hires.
As companies adopt neurodiversity inclusion programs, they experience more variety and innovation in the workplace. Employees on the spectrum provide unique perspectives that encourage creative thinking and problem-solving initiatives across the workplace. With the right supports in place, people with autism can thrive in nearly any career.
What Companies Can Do To Help Autistic Employees
The journey into employment involves the autistic person and the employer. If youre considering adding an autistic employee to your team, there are things you can do to help ensure success for everyone involved.
It also involves finding the best ways to support your autistic workers needs and ensuring theyre matched to a job that aligns with their interests and skills.
If youre looking to hire an autistic employee, heres a list of resources that may help you build an inclusive work environment:
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Career Paths For Autistic People
Autism spectrum disorder isnt a one-size-fits-all diagnosis, and no two autistic people are alike. Also, people with ASD have a wide range of interests and skills just like everyone else.
Still, some autistic folks have distinct strengths that may help them excel in specific careers. According to 2021 research, characteristics often associated with autism and translate well into the work environment may include:
- creative and innovative thinking
- reduced concern with social pressure
- a strong sense of social justice and affective empathy
- intense interests in specific things
- enjoyment of tasks non-autistic people might find challenging
Still, autistic folks may experience challenges in the workplace due to differing abilities with social interactions, sensory processing issues, and learning styles. In addition, difficulties with processing speed and receptive and expressive language may create challenges in the work environment.
Managing these challenges is possible with the proper support. These supports might include job coaches, individualized training programs, and ensuring the employer has a comprehensive understanding of autism.
Whether youre autistic or nonautistic, career options are nearly unlimited. Still, for individuals with ASD, some genres of employment can be a better fit than others. Career paths to consider include:
Choosing The Right Job For People With Autism Or Asperger’s Syndrome
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Both high and low functioning people have very poor short-term working memory, but they often have a better long-term memory than most normal people. I have great difficulty with tasks that put high demands on short-term working memory. I cannot handle multiple tasks at the same time. Table 1 is a list of BAD jobs that I would have great difficulty doing. Table 2 is a list of easy jobs for a visual thinker like me. I have difficulty doing abstract math such as algebra and most of the jobs on Table 2 do not require complex math. Many of the visual thinking jobs would also be good for people with dyslexia.
Some job tips for people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome:
- Jobs should have a well-defined goal or endpoint.
- Sell your work, not your personality. Make a portfolio of your work.
- The boss must recognize your social limitations.
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Who Are Some Successful People Who Have Autism
While some speculate as to the autistic status of many famous and historical figures, these are some of the ones that have a diagnosis.
- Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is one of the richest people on Earth.
- Sir Anthony Hopkins is an Academy Award winning actor.
- Michael Burry is hedge fund manager and inspiration for the movie, The Big Short.
- The famous poet and artist Morgan Harpers Nichols has an autism diagnosis.
So What Jobs Are Autism
The answer to that question is more about the work environment than the industry and job role. However, there are many jobs for people with autism, which they have been recognised to excel within. The suitability of these roles will depend upon the type of autism each individual has but include:
Computer programming: People with autism often do well in this job as they enjoy logical and predictable work that involves a lot of visual information.
Accounting: Accounting is a good job role for autistic people as many are extremely good with numbers. Furthermore, accounting is also based upon rules and logic meaning it is predictable and structured.
Data officer: People with autism can be exceptionally good at spotting errors due to their strong attention to detail, meaning they can excel in a role where they must identify, replicate and change information.
Graphic designer / animator: Autistic people who are good visual thinkers are well-suited to roles within graphic design and animation due to the creative outlet it provides to express their perspective and ideas.
Gardening work: Gardening work is particularly good for autistic people who struggle with social interaction due to being left alone for a lot of the time, to simply get the job done.
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What Others Say About Us
Employing people with Autism has brought a greater sense of cohesion to our teams. It has also allowed us to bring additional talent on board through a different channel as people with Autism tend to be more technically minded and think in a diverse but structured way. This is a way of harnessing that talent and diversifying our workforce at the same time.
Specialisterne has helped me go from unemployed to full time employed in the IT Sector. The excellent support, guidance and mentoring throughout the assessment and placement process, had resulted in SAP offering me a full time position. I could not have achieved this without the help and support of Specialisterne
Working with Specialisterne was a very positive experience and we would recommend them to other companies. They are always available to support both the candidate and the employer.
Working with Specialisterne has given us an insight into their work with adults on the autistic spectrum and the difference that they make. They are a professional company and very easy to work with.
Small Business Commits To Qualify Of Life Employing Those With Autism
Spectrum Designs is a Long Island company committed to enhancing the quality of life of people with autism, who often face barriers to employment. The company was started in 2010 by Stella Spanakos, whose son Nicholas was diagnosed with autism as a toddler and is now 22. Spectrum Designs already employs 30 people as of 2014. In 2013, the company doubled its service capacity and tripled its sales, nearing over half a million dollars.
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People With Autism Have A Variety Of Career Options
People with autism have a wide range of abilities and talents, but the standard job-search and interview process may make it difficult for such strengths to come through. These people often have communication techniques that arent typical. They dont have the characteristics of a traditional interviewee, such as a friendly demeanor, excellent eye contact, and great communication skills.
As a consequence, more than 80% of individuals with autism spectrum disorder are jobless or underemployed. Because neurodiverse applicants do not exhibit in usual ways during formal interviews and are unable to successfully display their genuine talents, they are often overlooked.
Companies and organizations like Autism at Work are working to broaden the traditional interview process so that neurodiverse individuals may be more fully integrated into the workplace. In 2013, SAP, for example, launched the Autism at Work initiative. Theyve had a lot of success employing individuals on the spectrum all around the world, and they keep 90% of the people they hire.
As more organizations implement neurodiversity inclusion initiatives, the workplace becomes more diverse and innovative. Employees on the spectrum provide a distinct viewpoint to the workplace, encouraging innovative thinking and problem-solving activities. People with autism may succeed in almost any field if they have the necessary supports in place.