The number of people with autism who are gainfully employed is low. Autism affects 1% of the world’s population and 1 in 68 birth in the US has an autism spectrum disorder. There are several reasons why adults with ASD are not gainfully employed. Lack of awareness of the disorder, misconceptions of what individuals can or cannot do, limited availability of training or absence of career guidance and opportunities for those with autism are some of the barriers to entry for gainful employment. To improve the chances of getting employed, there are several things that can be done to support those on the autism spectrum.
Increasing Employability through Information Campaigns
In the next decades, an estimated half a million young adults with autism are expected to join the workforce. Unfortunately, assistance for these young job seekers is low affecting their success in landing work. Although there is large support for children with autism overcome their behavioral and communication problems, this type of assistance is less forthcoming among young adults.
Discrimination against those with autism persists and employers may do it unknowingly. Even though many companies already start to see the talents and skills of people with autism, employment numbers can improve by enhancing awareness and removing attitudinal barriers. Companies like Walgreens, Microsoft and HP, to name just a few, have instituted programs to hire those with autism. Individuals with autism have strengths that are useful for a business. They have focus and concentration. They excel in doing repetitive tasks, have good analytical skills and are strong in mathematics & coding.
Eliminating institutional biases can play a big role in the employment of people with ASD. Information campaigns and online-based platforms to explain what autism is and the special skills that these individuals have can assist increase employability. Hiring a worker with ASD provides benefits for the employer at no extra costs.
Counseling, Training and Resume Building
Support programs not only involve helping those on the spectrum overcome their daily struggles in communicating. It must include practical training to enhance their skills and increase their marketability to prospective employers. A simple training on resume creation is helpful to learn what skills and experiences they should highlight. Providing career guidance to young adults is vital. While it is true that a person with ASD may be high or low functioning, every individual has his/her special traits that are useful when looking for something that they want to do and are good at doing. Counseling can already help identify possible careers. For example, high functioning adults with autism will not be able to do a future market trader’s job which demands a lot of pressure on short-term memory. Nor are they going to do well as casino dealers, airline ticket agents or receptionists because these jobs require good interpersonal and social skills. For those with good visual thinking, they will thrive in jobs such as computer programming, photography or drafting. In short, recognizing the talents of people with ASD early on and steering them in the right direction can help them find the jobs that they will excel in.
People with ASD have a lot to offer to prospective employers. It is a matter of helping those on the spectrum increase their chances in getting hired. Providing training, career guidance as well as resume building can assist them find their strengths and talents that are useful to companies and employers.