By Jennie Young
Individuals who have even the slightest forms of Autism can suffer greatly when it comes to finding a job. Less than one-third of autistic adults have any kind of paid job, and less than 16% of all adults with autism have a full-time job. The facts about autism employment are startling. Obtaining a job that they will be able to perform in and are interested in is extremely hard for individuals with autism. One factor that autistic people must keep in mind when seeking employment is their personal strengths and weaknesses. Autistic people benefit from routine and repetition. Jobs that can be repeated or have a set schedule are very beneficial for these individuals. Knowing what will help each individual prosper at a job will immensely help him succeed at a job. If an individual is passionate about one thing, finding a job with that interest could greatly increase his job performance. If a job requires lots of stimulation and commotion, however, it is probably not the best job for someone with autism.
Once an individual with autism has a job, it is important and advised that each person continues to have support from their employers, family, and friends. This will help them adjust to the changing environment in their workplace. It is recommended that people with autism start work training at a younger age. Shadowing a professional, doing an internship, and visiting vocational schools during the high school years are all good ways for autistic individuals to start adjusting to the workplace. Integrating workplace training into an individual’s learning process is very important and will significantly help them. On the other hand, waiting until adulthood to teach them how to work in a specific kind of environment will make it much harder for them to adjust.
Jobs that people with autism are often successful at have a very narrow field with little variation. Fields like science and technology are an area that may be well suited for some autistic individuals. The routines and procedures that are always the same and continually happening are easy for people with autism to pick up and follow. The technology field often involves working alone and excludes the social aspects of many other jobs. This is good for people with autism because social interactions can often stress and strain them. Manufacturing is also another common career for individuals with autism. It is lots of repetition and sometimes works that others might find bothersome and meticulous, but individuals with autism enjoy and take comfort in the repetitive nature. The final most common field of work for individuals with autism is with animals. As autistic people are not inclined to social situations, animals can often be therapeutic and help them relax.
On the flipside, jobs that are constantly changing and do not have a routine can often lead to problems for autistic individuals. Jobs that have lots of social interactions can also be overwhelming for people with autism; therefore, they are not good recommendations for individuals with autism. For many people, obtaining a job is not the problem, but keeping the job can prove to be very difficult for people on the autism spectrum. Many people on the autism spectrum can have trouble remembering things and can easily lose track of time. With some jobs, time management and remembering small details are key components of the job. Generally, knowing what each individual’s strengths and weaknesses are will significantly help him in finding a job that is best suited for the individual’s strengths. Autistic people who are visual thinkers are suggested to obtain jobs such as computer programming, drafting, commercial art, photography, web page designer, veterinary technician, and automobile mechanic. For non-visual thinkers who may be good at numbers and facts, accounting, computer programming, statistician, engineering, and journalism may all be good professions. Some autistic people who are non-verbal or have difficulty with basic communication may be good at jobs like factory work, janitorial jobs, data entry, lawn and garden work, and warehouse. These jobs are often done independently and don’t involve a lot of social interaction, so they are well suited for non-verbal people.
Furthermore, when someone with autism is applying for a job, things like transportation and job safety should be kept in mind. Making people with autism and their families aware of what jobs are best suited for them may help the 77% of unemployed individuals with autism who want a job, find one and keep it. Knowing the person and his strengths and weaknesses is the most important part of finding the best suitable job for a person on the autism spectrum.