Autism at Work ©2010
Wendy Arscott, B.Ed., M.Ed.
“It is estimated that up to 85% of adults with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) do not hold full time employment ("Asperger's on the Job" by Rudy Simone). This is not because they can't do the job; most exhibit above average intelligence. Simply put, the most common reason cited by employers and managers is that they struggle with being "socially acceptable" in the workplace.” (from: http://managing-aspergers-at-work.com/).
A high percentage of very bright people with Asperger's are not succeeding at post high school life due to less structure and a lack of understanding of the complexities of social relationships. With high levels of critical thinking and executive functioning students/employees can be very productive. However, lacking certain social skills they can find themselves in situations they don't comprehend and may be at risk for redeployment or job loss.
Though there are an increasing number of services for children with autism there are few supports for adults diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's.
Many people with Asperger's are drawn to careers in the sciences, such as engineering, IT, drafting, and accounting, to name a few, because it correlates with their strengths and learning styles yet many have challenges in the workplace when they don’t understand the culture and 'hidden social curriculum'.
By designing a specific plan of action and coaching, the employee can learn strategies for success, and colleagues and management can appreciate the strengths and skills the employee with Asperger's brings to the workplace.
Increasing education about the syndrome and aiding staff in understanding the autism culture, I am able to raise awareness and provide strategies to support the needs of students/employees with Asperger's. It is imperative to foster strategies for management to retain employees who can elevate a company in such areas as research, development, and innovation, and for post secondary institutions to provide appropriate services for students with autism.
For a personal conversation about your company's needs, please e-mail: