For individuals with autism, employment is more than just a job; It is the opportunity to live a fuller and more independent life.
In addition to being difficult to live as an individual with autism, the low rate of having the job they need to continue their lives makes their lives even more challenging. Individuals with autism still face the highest unemployment rates of all disability groups. Individuals with autism who cannot receive the necessary support cannot participate in business life. Because the efforts for the participation of disabled people in employment do not work for people with autism.
The fact that most of the studies carried out to date have focused only on children with autism spectrum disorder is a major omission. Because these children will grow up and be included in society. How these adults with autism will be included and adapted to society is our responsibility. But the lack of knowledge at this point causes us to fail in how to support adults with autism.
Studies to date show that between 76 and 90 percent of adults with autism are unemployed. Addressing the urgent needs of individuals with autism around the world is just one of the reasons why the United Nations General Assembly has declared World Autism Awareness Day.
According to the United Nations data, approximately 15 percent of the world’s population is made up of people with disabilities. Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities regulates the right to work and employment of persons with disabilities. Accordingly, work and employment policies for the disabled should improve their living conditions, aim to ensure their participation in social life, and be inclusive. Numerical data on individuals with autism in business life show that the measures taken are insufficient to ensure the participation of people with autism in business life. It is necessary to act immediately for both autistic people and other disability groups.
In the case of autism spectrum disorder, we know that it is a complex disorder that affects the brain. This impairs the individual’s social and communication skills and often causes them to display unusual or repetitive behaviors. According to the results of the studies carried out today, the incidence of autism varies between 1/100 and 1/150000, and approximately 3.3 million children in the European Union have an autism diagnosis. In most parts of Europe, these individuals diagnosed with autism struggle to survive with little or no support in the face of widespread unemployment.
The research and results carried out to date reveal unacceptable numbers. Society and companies miss the workforce opportunity that individuals with autism can bring to their workplaces. Besides, and worse, it systematically deprives individuals with autism of their right to work. They try to legitimize this systematic behavior they do.
Autism can also negatively affect communication in the workplace by affecting the abilities of individuals. The biggest challenge they face to date is the lack of support they need to find a job and social status, as well as to maintain that job and status once they have it.
Employment is essential in increasing the full participation of people with disabilities in society. It is also useful for companies that will use their capabilities. Research shows that companies with disabled employees have a better personnel continuity policy by reducing the costs caused by frequent personnel changes. For individuals with autism, employment is more than just a job; It is the opportunity to live a fuller and more independent life.
Encouraging The Companies To Hire Someone on The Autism Spectrum
We need to keep in mind that adults with autism will want to be involved in business life at some point in their lives, just like every adult. But most of the time they live a life filled with unemployment. Employers tend not to hire individuals with autism, although unemployment rates vary depending on which level of the spectrum they are in. This can result in poor mental health in individuals with autism.
Although we live in a society where autism is more or less familiar to us, and although autism research is still mostly focused on children, we all have an opinion on the difficulties that adults with autism may experience in daily life. Despite this, it is surprising that the unemployment rate for individuals with autism is quite high. It is ignored that they will provide great benefits to society and businesses with their talents and various skills. We can say that the excellent attention and technical skills that individuals with autism have are among the most important. These strengths can direct both the world and the businesses they are a part of indifferent positive directions.
Adults with autism generally struggle with unemployment throughout their lives. Increasing unemployment and underemployment problems are making their challenging life even more difficult. Research predicts that close to 75% of adults diagnosed with autism worldwide are unemployed or underemployed. Although it is clear that there will be no problem in the participation of individuals with a diagnosis of high-functioning autism in business life, the percentage of individuals with autism participating in business life is quite low. Research has also revealed that individuals with autism who can participate in business life have never worked in a paid job, although they have the skills and expertise they need to be successful at certain levels.
Failure to provide employment for an adult with autism can be a frustrating process not only for the individual but also for his/her family. Of course, the level of autism is important at this point, but due to the differences they have, the costs of care will be higher compared to individuals who complete their development normally. In addition to financial support, the lack of social assistance system is also very important.
Now we will talk about recruitment that an employer should set an example for everyone. He talks about how valuable the individual on the autism spectrum he hires is for his business and how happy he is to get to know him. Contrary to the stigmas in society, he actually witnessed what this individual with autism could do with his own eyes and tells this to everyone.
This individual with autism he hired also expresses how much he is loved and supported by his family. He has a family that buys a house for his sons, does not spare his love all his life, supports and encourages him at every opportunity, always compliments him, and does not spare his help in financial matters. His family even came to the job interview with their child. Seeing both the support of his family and what the individual with autism can do, this employer believed that an individual with autism should also be given opportunities, and he never regretted what he has done.
This individual with autism is assigned to tasks such as standing at the cash register or communicating with customers one-on-one, instead of tasks such as washing dishes and mopping floors in restaurants, which are despised by society and are thought to be only done by disabled individuals. When he felt overwhelmed, he was allowed to change tasks and do the things he felt comfortable with. In this way, he had the opportunity to practice and develop his skills and abilities.
We need more stories like this in society. More employment should be created for individuals with autism in business life and more opportunities should be given to them. Society, which changes and develops at every point, is obliged to do its part at this point as well. Autistic people can be more successful than people who complete their development normally when it comes to jobs suitable for them, we should not forget this. In this way, individuals with autism do not have trouble feeling themselves a part of society, and we stop seeing them as aliens.
Competitive Employment: It is the most independent and at the same time the most integrated business environment. There is almost no formality in the working environment, and this is the most preferred for individuals with autism. It does not oblige to be in any specific place physically. It ensures that the individual with autism is included in the team as much as he or she wants and is comfortable. If that person is someone who wants to join the society and is not comfortable with not joining the society, this is the one they can prefer.
Self-employment: It requires being a business owner or working as a freelancer with a firm but secure. It is one of the models preferred by individuals with autism because of the new businesses they will establish thanks to their different abilities and skills. It requires strong motivation. In addition to this requirement, it offers more flexibility than other models since they are the bosses of their own businesses.
Supported Employment: It is for individuals on the autistic spectrum who need more support. It is a paid employment that provides ongoing support. You can think of it more like paid management.
Sheltered Employment: It is a more systematic method. Only disabled people are employed. It guarantees the job. In addition to workshops that can further develop the skills of individuals with autism, there are also workshops that will enable them to develop brand-new skills. It is not a very long-term and sustainable method as they mostly pay less than the minimum wage.
Jobs That Can be Suitable for People On the Autism Spectrum
While thinking about the professions that are suitable for individuals diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s, it is necessary to consider the strengths of the child with autism instead of thinking about the attractiveness of the profession and its popularity in society. In reality, this is not true only for children diagnosed with autism, for everyone it is very important. On the other hand, when it comes to autism, what the diagnosed individual can and cannot do, and the difficulties he or she experiences in social environments should be handled more carefully.
For individuals diagnosed with autism, there are a few important points to consider when choosing a career in the future. Instead of a career, actually, we can say that something they need to handle in order to maintain their lives standalone. We can list these as difficulties experienced by the individual in social relations, competencies in long-term and short-term memory areas, and concrete and abstract thinking skills.
Most individuals diagnosed with autism have problems in social relationships. This shows that in the career selection process, besides the social skills of individuals with autism, the products they produce should also be taken into account. When choosing a profession, areas, where social relations are less important, should be considered. Considering that individuals diagnosed with autism have difficulties in abstract thinking, staying away from fields such as history, political science, business and literature can make their work easier. Of course, if they have a special interest in these areas, it will be much more beneficial and logical for them and society to focus on these areas.
- Accountant – Individuals with autism who are good with numbers may prefer it. It is very convenient for them as it comes down to keeping records, writing reports, doing account analysis, and doing the same job over and over.
- Administrative officer – It is a job that individuals with autism can both enjoy doing and be successful because it is a job that includes repetitive and monotonous tasks. The minimum level of social interaction is a great advantage. It requires dealing with papers, bills, reports, and figures more than sociability.
- Bank clerk – It is a profession that can be preferred by individuals with autism who love to play with numbers and are very good at it. Things such as cashing checks, making reports, exchanging foreign currency, and keeping track of deposits will be tasks that they will do without getting bored and will be successful.
- Computer scientist – A job that can be preferred by individuals with autism who are interested in science, technology, and numbers. They can be quite successful if they have even the slightest interest in any technology-related business.
- Construction worker – Individuals with autism with advanced motor skills may prefer it. Since it is a monotonous job, they do it without getting bored, and with their high-functioning memory, they complete their work without needing much support.
- Journalist – Perfect for individuals with high-functioning autism, thanks to their desire to know everything down to the smallest detail, their love of research, and their emotion-free perception of facts.
- Physicist – It is one of the professions that individuals with autism can choose, thanks to their desire to investigate nature and the universe, their desire to know the truth, and their extra interest in technology.
- Quality control officer – Perfect job for individuals with autism who are obsessed with details. They are 100% sure that the work they do and the projects they are involved in are up to the right standards. They can be very successful in terms of quality in many different sectors.
- Teacher/lecturer – People with autism who have a great passion for a particular subject also love to talk about it. Therefore, they can use these habits to maintain their lives. They can also express and teach their own passions to others. At this point, they will only need support in social communication and language skills.
- Veterinarian – It is an excellent alternative for individuals with autism who love animals and pay great attention to details. It is a job where they can both have fun and be successful both while studying and working.
There are some occupations that may be suitable for high-functioning individuals diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s. Professions such as computer programmer, advertising, photography, equipment designer, animal trainer or veterinarian, car mechanic, painter, laboratory technician, and web designer will be suitable for them. These occupations will be suitable for individuals with autism or Asperger’s syndrome who have strong visual skills.
Different professions are recommended for individuals with autism who have poor visual skills or cannot think visually and are good with mathematics, music, and data. These can be listed as accountants, librarians, computer programming, engineering, journalism, editorial, chauffeur, cashier, box office workers, statisticians, physicists, or mathematicians.
Individuals with autism, who have a speech problem that is the most obvious and the biggest problem in finding a job, actually have a few professions that they can have in order to maintain their lives. In fact, there are jobs that individuals with autism can do correctly and speed up the work of the companies they are involved in, such as being responsible for shelving in libraries, working on assembly lines in factories, being a warehouse manager, gardening, being responsible for data entry or working in facility maintenance.
While choosing a profession for your children with autism or Asperger’s diagnosis with a justified and justifiable concern, you should first make sure how well we know your child. You can also have a group meeting with your trusted specialists and therapists who are with you and your child during the therapy process. Thus, you can better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and determine their orientation more accurately.
Temple Grandin, a world-renowned autistic academician, was given the opportunity to become a professor in line with her interest and talent and gave lectures at Colorada State University in America. Explaining that individuals with autism have better long-term memories, Grandin explains this with a tremendous analogy.
If she were a computer, her processor would be small but her driver would be quite large. Her drive could easily store 10 times more information than normal computers. This difference makes it difficult for an individual with autism to do two jobs at the same time. Because the knowledge they have prevents them from doing their simple tasks in daily life.
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