Today, many employers are challenged with finding enough
quality employees for their roles. This means that people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities may find doors opening to them that would have been
closed only a few years ago.
People who have autism, for example, can be great employees
and have a lot to contribute. Companies big and small have discovered this – in
fact, Microsoft has a specific
program tailored to hiring people on the spectrum, as do others.
As you might expect, jobs that are more “behind the scenes, ”
structured and detail-oriented may be better for a person with autism. Ones
that advertise flexibility and agility are typically not the right fit.
However, it really depends on the person, as everyone is unique.
For some, a job in shipping or logistics with plenty of
routine may make sense. Other opportunities that draw on knowledge of numbers
and logic include computer science, accounting, engineering, commercial drawing
and library science. For those who are more advanced, a career in research or
as a scientist may be a possibility. Many of the jobs will require formal
education but can ultimately pay very well and be personally rewarding.
Explore a few resources that outline opportunities and considerations
Jobs for Autistic People in a Huge Range of Industries
the Right Job for People with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome
Career Paths for Teens with Autism
Great Jobs for People on the Autism Spectrum
There are a few keys to success, for both people who have
autism as well as their families and guardians:
- Define success together. Is it a steady
paycheck, enjoyable work, a new routine? Or something else?
- Find a role that plays to strengths while minimizing
weaknesses. For example, solo work may be more realistic than a job that
requires frequent customer interaction. Regardless of the role, employers
should understand and be willing to work with their employee and address issues
as they arise.
- Just like any job seeker, consider how the
individual will market themselves to employers. If the job would typically
require a portfolio for consideration, work with them to create one that shows their
skills and creativity.
- Get support before, during and after hire. For
an individual with autism, it may not be enough to look at a job board and send
in an application. Hands-on employment
services can make a huge difference in connecting a person with a willing
employer. These services can also provide support once a person is on a job, to
help ensure they can keep it.
While obtaining a job as a person with autism can be a
challenge, the rewards can be numerous for the candidate and their families.
Employers benefit too, as studies show that employees with an intellectual or
developmental disability are typically very loyal and productive, with minimal
cost to accommodate.
Employers, learn more: This
free guide lays out the facts about hiring people with disabilities and
provides the resources to help employers take the first step toward hiring