The prospect of finding fulfilling work is believed to be relegated to the “lucky few” born with extraordinary talent, wealth or an unusual drive to succeed. Why, then, would individuals with autism not be able to find fulfilling work?
Many individuals on the spectrum have an extraordinary talent and an innate comfort in following order: both great attributes to bring to a job site. Adults with ASD most certainly can and will find such fulfilling work with the appropriate guidance of knowledgable guardians and peers.
Employment statistics for adults with ASD are relatively scarce, and in order to advocate for both a balance of independence and inclusion in the workplace, we need more trustworthy data.
But since the best data comes from a large sample size, and our 1st-generation diagnosed adults with ASD are only just entering the workplace, our society’s understanding of employment for people with autism may not be culled from the best numbers for a while.
The truth is that many individuals with ASD have had successful (though undocumented) outcomes in the workplace, which makes it hard for employers to believe that individuals with ASD can contribute to their companies effectively. Our primary goals are to demonstrate the great contributions an adult with ASD can make as an employee by utilizing their natural gifts, and to ask employers to consider these findings as they fill roles in their company.
We interview successful employees with ASD and their families to learn first-hand accounts of their trials and triumphs in job advocacy, training and transitions. Our secondary goal is to provide a broad storytelling of unique case studies across age groups that will both educate and encourage guardians to pursue meaningful employment for their loved one on the spectrum.
Once we have a collection of these interviews, we will publish an informative series for the public to use in their own self-advocacy for employment.