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Best Of: Six Bad Ideas That Triggered the Autism Epidemic

The Atlantic Magazine on Hiring Adults with Autism

EmploymentopportunitiesNOTE: Employment issues will loom larger than school issues as kids grow into adulthood and the autism epidemic "ages out."  Not all people with autism are as severely affected as many of our children, including my three daughters.  Many will have the IQ, education and skills to have gainful employment. But what will that look like?   How many will be employed and fully using their skills versus grossly underemployed, therefore under-earning.  Not everyone with autism will qualify for disability payments.  What's going to happen to our tax coffers if millions of men (and women) are earning well below what they should?  How will employers handle the behaviors and challenges of autism?  There will be horror stories and heroes alike. 

Is your child with autism employed? Are you an adult on the spectrum who is working? Tell us. This is an interesting article from the Atlantic Magazine.

Why Some Companies are Trying to Hire More on the Autism Spectrum

The majority of those with autism are unemployed, but new pilot programs at big companies, such as EY and Microsoft, are discovering unexpected benefits from having "neurodiverse" colleagues.

Interest in what’s called neurodiversity is growing at American companies. This year, the accounting firm EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) has been piloting a program to employ people with autism in order to explore the benefits of having workers of different cognitive abilities, such as greater productivity and building a more talented workforce.

According to a recent study by Drexel University, 58 percent of young adults with autism are unemployed. And yet, many of them have skills that businesses are looking for. “This program leverages the skills that people with high functioning autism often have: looking at data, dealing with mathematical concepts, attention to detail, the ability to focus over long periods of time, and looking at large bodies of information and spotting anomalies,” explains Lori Golden, EY Abilities Strategy Leader who led the pilot program. Right now, EY’s program has four employees who work as accounting-support associates.

EY recruited the candidates, and adjusted its training and onboarding processes to become more comfortable for individuals on the autism spectrum. In addition to regular training, Golden says that EY provided hands-on training during which employees in its neurodiversity program could watch work happen in real-time as part of job training. In turn, the program has also resulted in some thoughtful reflection from the company’s managers. “One thing that happened that I thought was really interesting was that, as our supervisors went through training these individuals everyday, they stopped and asked ‘Can this be improved? Are we communicating the right way?’” says Golden. What EY found was that having colleagues with autism challenged the office’s status quo, and made it easier to broach questions about whether or not communication and management strategies were effective and logical.  Read more at Why Some Companies are Trying to Hire More on the Autism Spectrum.

Comments

Benedetta

Thank you Jeannette; You have always been so kind to me. I appreciate your ear and your acknowledgment.

Jeannette Bishop

Benedetta, I'm very sorry to hear your news and pray your son has a better situation soon!

Benedetta

8 months, now what?

Benedetta

My son was let go today.
Dang it he had signed up for health insurance and even dental. He kept his old job for two years, but not with this other stupid company.
I hate the world today

Benedetta

My son is employed.
I cannot believe how we came out of a brain injury as lucky as we did.
My hopes and prayers goes out to all of you and your young ones, that fortune falls your way as well as it seems for us right now.

Even those that are more than high functioning that came out of vaccine injuries with mood disorders do have serious problems with employment. I know; cause I have one of them too.

My son is highly anxious, so he was more than happy to find a job close to home with out a long commute. .
He went to a community college for the longest time to finish just a two year degree in electronics. He also went back for a degree in construction electricity. I don't think this is for him at all in real life, only a school thing. .

He has a job that is highly structured.
He worked two years for one company and then laid off when the company did not get a new contract. The building housed two different companies and the other company picked him, just this July. He had been laid off for a year.
They have worked him overtime every since - two hours extra a day, plus weekends, they had so much work to do. He has got up and every day and did his job.

He prepares old medical records to be transferred to the computer.
My daughter worked there for a while too. She got hired on a month after he did. She did her training and worked for about three months when she lucked out and got a job in mental health and substance abuse. She had given up looking when this job just fell out of the sky upon her. She had nurse friend in AA; yes she is in AA and her nurse friend had finally been hired by a hospital and told her that she had put in for her to take over her old job. I think she will do well there for her own-self as well as helping others.

2016 started out bleak and we were close to having no money as we supported two adult kids. Then half way through things began to happen for my two children.

My daughter said that my son had a reputation of at this place of his work of being very quiet and getting his quota in. He keeps to himself and causes no problems. They like him cause that is what they want. People that do not talk and does their work.

I have seen so many out in our community that are no worse than my son that does not have a job, or had a job but only for a short period of time, or held a job for five or six years and then lost it.

My son makes 10 dollars an hour. If he works over time he makes 15 dollars and hour. He will be okay as long as he does not take a wife and that is not likely to happen, but possible. It seems to be a dead end job, but really is about what all jobs are anyway.

He went to a community college for a lot longer than two years to get an electronics degree. I have told the story right here on AOA of how that happened. He decided he was going and he did. I am still in shock over that one. After finishing the electronics degree and went back and played around with some classes in law enforcement. He is interested in that, but I wish I could say he could do anything he wants like most parents. I can't say that, and it is hard to know when to discourage or encourage.

He even went back and got a electrical construction degree to tack on to the electronics degree and some law enforcement classes. . He needs to find and work for a master of electricity as an assistant to learn more and get some practice. But again, I don't know. I don't think he is really up to that at all. He needs structure, I think.

However; working around our farms, and my parents' home, and and our own home he shows brilliance at times. Just when you least expect it. He will tell my husband that is pretty smart man that he is going at something all wrong, or suggest a way of doing something in a way that my husband or even father have even thought of.

It is not that I have wishful thinking, there really is something of brilliance there. There is ambition there, but as the same time there is no desire to be on his own, or initiative when I think there should be initiative and then I get a surprise.

I still don't know where we are at on this road , but every turn of the road has been a surprise, but also disappointing too, and a great deal of fear.

. .

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

You ask, "Is your child with autism employed?"

No. My son is 54 years old and a savant. He has written 2 memoirs with me, available as ebooks on amazon.com or bn.com. We are working on a third. He is thus able to state his occupation (or profession) as: Author.

In the past he worked at Burger King wiping tables and sweeping floors, and at the former Agnes Clarke Memorial Workshop at Westborough State Hospital he assembled products like picture frames and bird feeders. It was so moving when he saw his bird feeders on display at the entrance of Caldor's one Christmas season.

"That's my work!" he exclaimed.

Westborough was closed. Now he lives in a group home, from which he too often still runs away. His first day program was for people with Alzheimer's. He went off into their TV room and spent every day watching movies on DVD. In his current day program they spend time coloring, watching TV or movies on DVD (a view of real life), discussing the news, etc. I have asked that they provide help learning to use the internet and email, but to no avail.

Smoking is the most regularly scheduled activity, one cigarette every hour on the hour.

Reader

And in more good news California Democrats legalize child prostitution with SB 1322, starting Jan 1. Don't worry though, folks, the good people at SNOPES say this doesn't legalize child prostitution (this from the people in charge of 'fake news' that either utilize or have been working in the sex trade). Child trafficking experts sure disagree with that! Pelosi was big on getting this passed too.

Reader

Exactly Greg. I have heard unemployment for those with autism is 88%. The neurodiverse /pharmaceutical crowd can try and spin things whatever way they like but autism is no walk in the park for those affected or their caregivers. This level of unemployment (as well as caregivers needing to drop out of the workforce) is not a trend that is sustainable for a healthy society.

Greg

'According to a recent study by Drexel University, 58 percent of young adults with autism are unemployed"?


Not exactly according to the study! That is the percentage of young adults with autism who have worked at some point in their life, and this, incidentally, is the worse rate for all disability groups, including those with learning disability, intellectual disability, speech/language delays, etc. It is interesting that the autism unemployment rate is being assessed in this way. I suppose if one was to measure the employment rate of the general population, by those who have worked at some point in their life, we would have a near 100% employment. As to the actual unemployment rate for autistic individuals, it is estimated at 85%

https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/docs/qbe_large_business_report.pdf

Laura Hayes

58% of young adults with autism unemployed? What a gross underestimate.

Once again, the true devastation of the "autism" epidemic is being falsely reported and sugarcoated.

Jan

Sigh... I will only be excited by any business large or small looking to give our more challenged sons and daughters a chance.
One would think that living in a fairly small town, where everyone knows your son would give him a chance to work or even volunteer. Nope! Because they have seen him during some of his more challenged moments they THINK they "know" him.
They don't, not at all. The child/teen they saw is not who he is now.
My wonderful son, although not considered high functioning still has some great skills that would be of such great benefit to any place who was willing to give him a shot: he LOVES to work and be busy, he is a pretty quick learner, and he has 1 to 1 support.
I've spoken to so many other parents whose sons and laughter also love to be busy and would be thrilled to work or share the same frustration. They can't find anything for them to do. The result many end up in day programs that are boring at best (think preschool coloring sheets, and cooking programs that consist of making instant pudding and hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls) and at worst set people up to fail and then kick them out. I have heard the same stories time and again.
Stories like the one in The Atlantic give me zero hope for my son and for my friend's adult children.

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