The New Tech Giants: Jobs for Adults with Autism

Autism1-685x320As we move forward in the technological renaissance we currently live in, we seldom think of who exactly controls the direction that innovation moves in. Big business, celebrities, and thousands of skilled workers in STEM fields control this movement. And while, in principle, everyone should be able to contribute to the wave of innovation, often times, people diagnosed with autism are excluded from the workplace.

The needs of adults with autism are seldom focused on in the media. Although more people are diagnosed with autism each year, the stigma attached to the label of “autism” continues to discourage employers from hiring autistic individuals. In fact, some estimates describe that the unemployment rate for adults on the spectrum exceeds 90%. What many employers do not recognize is the fact that many people who have autism can contribute greatly to their companies, by being productive, dependable, hard-working individuals.

In fact, discrimination and exclusion targeted towards autism in the workplace hinders employers from greater productivity and success in the long-run. According to Forbes’ A New Business Model for Autism, progressive employers who hire those with autism, benefit the most because they recognize the unique strengths of each individual.

A grassroots movement of entrepreneurs is currently emerging across the nation, a movement in which people are starting businesses that employ people with developmental disabilities and special needs. The results are incredible: From a successful Florida car-wash operation that employs an all-autism workforce, to a thriving Kansas kettle corn business that employs people with developmental disabilities, it’s evident that innovative, inclusive employment can launch a business to success.

Many tech and business jobs are available for those with autism. There are visual-thinking jobs like computer graphics and website design, and there are jobs for non-visual thinkers, like computer programming and data entry. Endless possibilities exist for businesses to employ people with autism, and it is only a matter of time before more business recognize the advantages of inclusive employment.

Ultimately, more businesses need to use innovative employment tactics in order to create innovative products and solutions for the future. Everyone has the skills and abilities to contribute to a team, and the label of “autism” should never eclipse the wide range of capabilities of the individual.

By Samantha Mallari

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