Employment and Autism/Asperger's: What's Your Dream?
What does the employment picture look like for your loved one (or for yourself if you are on the spectrum)?
Can your adult child with autism or Asperger's find and hold a job that is self-sustaining? If you are an adult with autism or Asperger's has the workplace been accommodating, and are you satisfied with your job?
Is a job the same thing as a career? What's your dream? Comment:
why are so many people obseesed with this subject-it's pathetic that I hear about 80% more of will my kid get a job than will my kid be happy. The truth is that society does not always have a niche for people's particular talents so if you are a computer or math savant, that's a totally different experience from being an artistic savant-do i really have to point out which skills are more marketable? I, an artistic savant have srtuggled along my whole life being unable to do much more than wash dishes. I can't be a graphic artist, I don't grasp computers and my social skill issues make workplace situations torment. Maybe someday I will be a successful painter but again, the networking, the social skills. My scope of ability is limited to hyper realistic artwork and photographic-of images, not words, memory. My abilities are not what is favored in society. But am I happy and proud of my acheivments? Goddamn right. I am poor but I would not ask to be different. Having a job has nothing to do with happiness and self-worth as millions of NTs know. I would like to hear more about well-being and creating more tolerance in society for people with dffering abilities the job job job as if that meant anywhere near the same thing as self-worth.
Posted by: naali | June 07, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Good Evening Everyone.
I found this thread by searching (Google) how I can help anyone to find work especially those with asperger/autistic syndrome and/or the hearing/sight impaired.
This is not an ad and I won't mention the name of the company with whom I am affiliated. I will simply ask if anyone has ever thought about networking a business opportunity. My wife and I received a call from a TTY operator saying she had a gentleman on the line who could not hear or speak but was very much interested in the business in which we are participating. (I'll call him) Jon came on board and went out and set the world on fire handing out brochures, fliers which has his web site address on them. Jon became an inspiration to me and gave me the idea to start working with folks who have special needs. This is my first attempt to reach out. If anyone thinks this could be written better or presented better, please let us know how. We think that this would be a Win/Win project and would appreciate any input. Thank You. Rob and Bea MRRLQ@hotmail.com
Posted by: Rob and Bea Quesenberry | September 19, 2010 at 09:01 PM
I am a teenager with Asperger's. I can't say for sure if I'd like to be a lawyer, or a biologist, or a filmmaker, or something else, but I'm sure that my AS will help me succeed.
Posted by: Aspergio the Magnificent | September 12, 2010 at 02:22 PM
Mary: The truth does hurt. My son is 19. The past ten years of interventions have made improvements in my son's life but none that will allow him to have a job. Except for a job like the one Benedetta mentioned where he would repeatedly do some simple task and get paid nothing. I think that he would hate that, based on my experience with him.
My dream is that he could communicate with me how he feels. If he would or would not like a job like that or if he feels bad on a particular day or what hurts or why he is crying. I can guess and try my best to help him but I really would like to put all my efforts into helping. Then I could have the dream of teaching him to help himself.
Posted by: L Land | September 08, 2010 at 12:32 PM
@Theodora - You go girl, you sound like me! I'm studying natural medicine and doing as many training courses in DAN!, MINDD etc as I possibly can, so I can use my own experiences to help other girls on the spectrum do as well as they can. I'm also halfway through writing a book on Asperger's, and do a lot of lecturing about what it's like to have it, and advisory things to other 'experts'...
There is so much scope for helping others if you've got the ambition and a few ideas of what to do. For those who have the capability I think we can do a great service to all the younger ones - and their parents - by using what we've been through to help others in whatever area we're best in.
Something for some other people to think about maybe?!
Posted by: Izzy | September 08, 2010 at 06:08 AM
Mary: It's rather presumptuous for you to say they will never hold down a job. How can truly you know if they're only 9-11 years old? Maybe they will hold down jobs, just a little later than the average neurotypical. You're just like the many doctors who predict a child's outcomes at age 2. You're setting your son up for failure. Why will he even bother trying if you give him the message he is incapable?
Posted by: Aspie | September 07, 2010 at 07:30 PM
After visiting my son's classroom today, I can say without a doubt NONE of those 8 boys (ages 9 -11) will EVER hold a job. Truth hurts.
Posted by: mary | September 07, 2010 at 02:33 PM
I meant chair of thier (APSE's)Advocacy Committee, not the organization!!!!
Posted by: Theodora Trudorn | September 07, 2010 at 01:44 PM
I personally am extremely ambitious.
I intend on being an advocacy specialist and asperger's syndrome expert and help advocate and design programs specifically geared towards making those with AS as independent as possible.
I am building the networks and establishing the contacts now. I am right now the best known advocate on the spectrum in my state (to tute my own horn). I'm am chair of many committees, including the state branch of the national APSE organization.
I am setting things up so that I am able to start designing those programs. I know I have the drive, and the know how. Networking will help me find those with the expertise to help see these visions, plans, and designs come to fruition.
And it's not just a dream for me. It is what I will make reality. For me there is no such thing as failure or can't. There are only obstacles. Obstacles are made to be overcome, and I have one h*() of a drive!!
After all obstacles are only failures when you give up. And dreams are only dreams when you don't take steps to make them reality.
Once again, EXTREMELY AMBITIOUS AS WOMAN HERE!! LOL!!!
Posted by: Theodora Trudorn | September 07, 2010 at 01:43 PM
My 50 year old sister has aspergers. She has always been brilliant, yet "socially challenged". She went to UC Santa Cruz where she found a group of friends she fit in with. To this day, they all remain in close touch. She has never married, but has had a wonderful six-figure income career at a large corporation in CA. Her people skills have always been "off". so has been passed over for management-type jobs. However, she has learned coping skills along the way, and does very well overall. She has held positions like "expert witness" as she remembers everything, and is amazing at number crunching type jobs, which is very valuable to many employers (she has been with the same company for almost 30 years, but different departments). When she first got out of collage, she wanted to work in a book store (she is a speed reader and LOVES books). My parents realised that she doesn't like change, so once there would probably never move on to a higher paying job. So, they encouraged her to take some time exploring her professional options. Luckily, she followed their advice, landed a great job, and created a nice (profitable) life for herself, including a solid circle of friends, and one very typical best friend who has been wonderful about always being there for her. Yes, marriage and kids are missing (and she would have loved a family), but she is a happy, fully functioning, capable adult. We lover her "quirks" and all!
Interesting to not: she had heart surgery at 18 mos old (one of the youngest at the time), so could easily have been exposed to environmental toxins that she couldn't handle at the time. I was very "typical" yet had unexplained neurological problems at 40 that resolved with removal of amalgam fillings and chelation. All 3 of my kids were injured by their vaccines. 2 of the 3 are completely recovered with biomedical interventions (one also has Downs, so still has challenges there). There's always hope if you don't give up!
Posted by: Anne | September 07, 2010 at 12:55 PM
Vanessa and other young parents - no real answers here just something to tuck in the back of your minds!
For those that responded to this and your child is still hhuuummmmmmmm even in middle school --- you are very brave souls.
Most of us (me included) refuse to think past, welllll at the very most the school year. The future scared me too much!
I once was invited to a big meeting --- county wide for all of Saginaw county, Michigan- dicussing jobs and careers for the special ed kids. My son was then a Freshman having uncontrolled, and yet undignosed seizures. A job was still the last thing on my mind. I did not want to be there at all. But a freshman is only three years away from out of school. So I swallowed the rising fear in my throat and forced myself to at least put my head down and sit there.
One parent when she found out it was job related, stood up and said she was at the wrong place; that she had come not really knowing what this meeting was about; that her son was only in the fifth grade, and that she was just trying to get through the school year: that she was leaving; and she did!
After she left the speaker said that he promised that she was not part of his speech, that they had not met previously and it was not set up for her to say this, but he wanted us to know that what she said only gave his speech credence.
He said if a child was normal and in the fifth grade - nobody knew what it was going to do, and there was still time. How many knew what their child would go into if it was normal and only in the fifth grade! For that matter there was many a sopomore in college that was not sure. That was why they had two years of basic courses. How many normal kid's parents had to go to a meeting when their kid was in the fifth grade to wonder about jobs? None! They simply enjoyed their child and it's young age. This was only one more thing that a parent with a mentally challenged child had to deal with and bear!
That is so very true.
It is somewhat less scary when they are juniors, or seniors, but still there is more fear there of course than if a regular kid was graduating ,esp if the child is only getting their certificate.
The worse case: would be I think my three nephews. No training, two with only a high school certificate, fired from more jobs than I have fingers on my hands, sitting home with no prospects, and a father that has yet to face the fact that maybe SSI might be his only option.
But all three bright enough to want things!
Posted by: Benedetta | September 07, 2010 at 11:27 AM
Mark - prayers for your success in this innovative plan! And an application in 10 yrs. for my nonverbal guy.. ;)
Posted by: Tracy McDermott | September 07, 2010 at 09:03 AM
I am very hopeful for my son to get a job he loves to do. He's only 12 but he already thinks about getting a job. But I am more worried about people taking advantage of him. He is a very well behaved boy, he does as he's told. I would like him to have a choice on weither he wants to do something at the job or not if no one is around to help him. I just wouldn't want that tarnished by people taking advantage of him because they know of his autism.
Posted by: Vanessa cabolong | September 07, 2010 at 02:45 AM
We are lucky to have caught our son before things got too bad. He recovered from whatever it was....... "mercury poisoning symptoms" (never let him get a label) The mercury is just about all gone... Let the gut healing begin and the future be bright... He wants to be a fireman, but I think I will try to sway him into a less toxic world.
Posted by: polliwog | September 07, 2010 at 01:10 AM
I'm an adult with Asperger's. So far I've been lucky - I've had one good office job for 18 months, in an office full of the most accommodating, friendly, kind-hearted people you could imagine. While I'm generally pretty good at passing for 'normal' and hiding any difficulties, whenever I had any problems they were so kind. It was fantastic. Sadly, I had to move city to go to university.
I've also had jobs working from home as a copy writer, which I think are the best you could do if you have Asperger's as the interaction is limited, communication is largely via email, you can set your own pace, work in your own environment, and provided you're somewhat motivated and meet deadlines everything tends to be fine. You can also work in the small hours of the morning if sleeping is an issue! Working from home is great.
However, I've tried a few pub/waitressing jobs and none lasted more than a couple of weeks. Too much pressure, too little training, too many drunk people who I just could not figure out, too many sleazy bar owners coming at me with innuendo that sounded more like a foreign language, I never knew when anybody was hitting on me, didn't have a clue how to make drinks, and unfortunately one of them took total advantage of me and stole all my money!! So err... bit of a caveat there. Learn from my mistakes.
I've worked retail as well, which was ok. Not the greatest, and meetings and planning went right over my head, but I could work the tills and stock shelves and help customers one-on-one etc, so that was ok. Not the best but it's manageable if you're relatively capable of passing yourself off as normal and working around any limitations. It's also usually got a fair amount of routine involved, which works well.
Overall, my advice - find a good office free from office politics (or just ignore it totally like I did, and then you get more respect for not engaging in that nastiness), or work from home if possible. It's do-able, it's just tricky, and you'll probably get a few knock-backs along the way before finding something that works for you. But hang in there guys, it can work out fine!!
Posted by: Izzy | September 06, 2010 at 10:48 PM
That sounds awfully big!
That sounds like something that I could not possible understand let alone do.
You are light years ahead of me.
It is times like this that I feel small like I do when I see the ocean.
I wish I could do something like this, I could then help my son as well as my nephews.
Good luck in this! It sounds impressive!
Posted by: Benedetta | September 06, 2010 at 10:28 PM
Posted by: Evan | September 06, 2010 at 10:13 PM
I never wore jeans until the 7th grade because the fabric would cause me to have a melt down.
I've been hooked on Superman since I can remember - I'm currently a Junior in College.
School seemed an impossible task, and no one expected anything from me.
I didn't have any friends until the 9th grade.
Things changed; I saw what I was capable of.
I've learned to believe in myself, and I'm not even close to stopping here: http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/extra-features/2009-10/Green-Greenbacks/
Read this slowly: It's OK to be different.
Posted by: Evan | September 06, 2010 at 09:33 PM
On the top of my dream list: my daughters would be able to raise their children without the need to be in a cynical position of looking out for predators willing and able to use even avenues of authority to undermine theirs and willing to risk the well-being of someone else's child just to advance their career or bolster their profit margin.
A little further down the list would be for my daughter affected by ASD to be restored to health and functioning to an extent that would allow her to make personal career choices.
At this point, while I believe she will be able to learn to care for herself physically, I'm not sure she could successfully or even safely attempt to provide for her financial needs, even in part. Unless her parents can miraculously live the span of two lives, recovery feels like the only option.
Posted by: JenB | September 06, 2010 at 08:10 PM
College and University great, work not so. Never had a job. Disability laws don't help as employers just can't deal with someone with social and communication differences to the Neurotypical norm.
Posted by: Alan | September 06, 2010 at 07:34 PM
My daughter is almost 15 and nonverbal. She is smarter than she comes across if you spend enough time with her to realize that.
The unemployment rate for adults with ASD is ~90%. Therefore, I'm not going to wait until someone "gives" her a job...I'm taking action to create a job for her, and for hundreds of other adults with ASD.
With her in mind, earlier this year I started a new nonprofit company - LTO Ventures (www.ltoventures.org) - that is developing live / work / play communities for adults with ASD. The work element is key to the success of each community as each will contain a for-profit, multi-million dollar enterprise with jobs for resident ASD adults of a wide variety of abilities, and will be highly inclusive with neuro-typical adults.
In my research to develop the plan for these communities. I have learned about many well-structured workplaces for adults with ASD around the US, including in my own town of Las Vegas. I also sit on the Employment Subcommittee for the Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders and chair the Community Living Subcommittee focused on residential solutions (www.facebook.com/nvautismcommission.communitylivingsubcommittee).
Posted by: Mark L. Olson | September 06, 2010 at 06:57 PM
My son has one semester left of school
He majored in electronics and this coming Jan-May he has to go to a new town, a different town, on one of the busisssssssttt interstates in the nation- I-75 to finish up in constructon electronics. I plan on driving him a lot, or being with him when he does.
Meanwhile I have been in contact with the state vocational rehabilitation office. They have found a psych to talk to him.
(I don't know - we have done it all his life, but now the state is footing the bill for 28 sessions) They say they will help perpare his resume, and give him lessons in interviewing (heck everyone could use some lessons in that).
So, he has nothing to take at his old community college - but he took some little course anyway just to help make him get out of the house and away from his room. full of plastic toys and video games.
Meanwhile my 3 nephews in Mississippi, have all lost their jobs, and are at home in their rooms all beat up from the demands of society that they can not meet. One did go to college and was so HDAD all over the place he changed his vocation mind weekly. The twins could not possible succeed in school (God have mercy on them).
Their mother says that the only thing the state offered them since they had no more formal education or training was stuffing napkins in boxes and getting paid 22 cents an hour. They do not even have to give them miniumal wage --- I guess - Does anyone know here?
Posted by: Benedetta | September 06, 2010 at 05:54 PM
Sustainability is not only key and significant for those on the spectrum, but every citizen in the USA. If there is no room in this society for those with perfectly functioning brains, what is in store for those on the spectrum. What is Corporate America's responsibility to the society that allows them to operate within? If capitalism is allowed to "waste" this country's resources (export work to 'cheap' markets), America will wind up on the trash heap of ancient cultures that relied on greed, entitlement and ego to determine its destiny.
Posted by: gary moody | September 06, 2010 at 05:43 PM
I had a pretty stunning biomed experience when, a few hours after my son took his first No Fenol, he picked up a pen and drew a little person. He'd always loved pictures but could only draw a single short stick prior to that day. He has gone on to become an unbelievable artist. He can copy anything he sees and recently started taking painting classes.
Due to the type and amount of exposures he had as well as a pretty horrific post-MMR regression, and despite starting biomed before he turned 3, he will at this point probably always be pretty severely DD. We have a few full time art programs for DD adults here where he can paint all day, supervised, and exhibit and display his works in the Cultural Center and local galleries. I am hoping, of course, that funding holds out for these programs until he's 21, and very grateful to live in a place where these resources even exist. We live in a notoriously bad state for DD services, so if he didn't have this extreme talent, and of course the mystifying and miraculous enzymes that unlocked it, there would be almost nothing to choose from.
Posted by: Amy | September 06, 2010 at 05:12 PM
The social minefield of today's workplace is difficult even if you are not on the spectrum. The job climate right now is sink or swim. Very few employers are truly accommodating. My non asd daughter had to resign from her position because of a physical injury which required some accommodation. The accommodations requested by her physician were deemed too much for her to function within her job description. This is all legal under ADA. After this recent experience, I am not sure if there is hope for her little ASD brother.
Posted by: Deb O. | September 06, 2010 at 09:35 AM