Hi, I'm Craig Kendall, the author of
Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome.
Essential Employment Advice for Asperger's Adults
I received this email from a concerned grandmother...
|I am the grandmother of a 26 year old intelligent, depressed, frustrated,
non-diagnosed man with Asperger's Syndrome. He was reading at 3 yrs. old. Kindergarten
was a nightmare for him & his teachers because they didn't know what to do with him.
His IQ test at 5 yrs. old was 144. His drawings have always been amazing & he has
been drawing on the computer for the last 10 years.
We have no idea how to help him.
He did graduate from high school and started at a college for one semester but we
think he dropped out before the end of the semester.
He spends 24 hours a day in his small,
cramped, dark room doing who know what online. Sometimes he comes out for meals, but
eats very little. Most of the symptoms that are listed are things he has
exhibited since he was a year old. Melt-downs, refusing to wear most clothing, not
knowing how to play with peers, any change in his environment would throw him into
what has to be called a "fit". This behavior has almost stopped because as his
sister calls it, he seldom comes out of his "Bat Cave".
He is very adept on the computer but,
without experience somewhere and self-confidence he will never be self-sufficient or
a productive, contributing adult.
If you have any info or
suggestions that might be of assistance to us, would you please help us.
There are many reasons why this young adult is depressed. He has no friends, has no job, is
not self sufficient and at this point in his life, sees no future. He obviously wants to
be a contributing member of society but in order to get there he needs employment.
Here is an excerpt from my book, the Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome
which may help address this problem.
What are some of the difficulties that
adults with Aspergerís have getting and keeping a job?
To start, we will talk about the problems those with AS have
getting and keeping jobs.
Part One: The Interview
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, problems for adults
with AS and employment is getting through the initial interview.
You can be the
brightest, sharpest person out there, you can know the job inside out, but unless
you can connect with the person doing the interview socially, and can come across
well, you will never get past the front door.
People with AS do not do small talk well. They might answer
questions in a far too explicit manner or say nothing at all; give too much detail
about their faults when it is not needed; not look people in the eye and seem
excessively nervous and fidgety, which is a sign to most interviewers that they are
not prepared or not right for the jobówhen, in fact, they are like that all the
People with AS can be trained in how to get through an
interview, how to look people in the eye, how to answer questions the right way. But
they are often going to have an air of anxiety pervading them that they canít rid of
no matter how much they try, and the interviewers pick up on this and often see them
negatively for it. Not all, but a lot of them. Practicing mock interviews with a
coach or friend will help a lot. Practicing eye contact, and role playing questions
and answers will help give the person with AS a sense of what they should and
shouldnít do in an interview, and the kind of questions that will be asked. There
are job coaches that are skilled in this, or even friends or family members can
Also, the adult with AS will likely need guidance in selecting
proper attire for the interview. Does it require a suit, or just a polo shirt? What
kind of pants go best with the shirt? Tie or no tie?
The way a person presents
themselves is very important in an interview; but presentation, and being aware of
how they come across, is something that is very hard for most adults with AS.
Ten Job Interview Tips
These are some ways the adult with Aspergerís can improve their performance on a job
1. Donít badmouth your past boss
Remember not to talk negatively about your previous job or
employer. This only reflects negatively on you and your character. The employer will
wonder if you make it a habit to speak negatively of all those you come in contact with.
This is not good for workplace morale.
2. Make sure you understand any
questions before you answer
If you donít take the time to understand and clarify the
question, your answer may make no sense and you may have missed an important chance to
show off your strengths. Take a minute or two to compose a thoughtful answer.
3. Try not to appear too desperate
If you seem desperate, it is a turn off. Employers want to
hear what your skills are and why you would be a good fit for the organization, not your
life story and how you need the job to feed your two kids and ten guinea pigs at home.
4. Donít slouch
Try to be aware of your body
posture and not slouch. Sit up straight as much as you can.
5. Watch your language
It goes without saying you should not curse or use any
colorful language. The workplace is not the right place for that.
6. Donít pick your nose
Donít pick your nose or display any other
unusual hygiene. This may be obvious but some adults with Asperger's need a little
reminder to bring a tissue and comb and to take care of personal issues before the
7. Donít complain about anything
If you had to drive around for twenty minutes to find a
parking spot, or you think the coffee they served you is too cold, itís probably not the
right time to talk about it.
8. Try not to space out or lose
If youíre thinking about what youíre having for dinner that
night, the interviewer will probably know.
9. Talk about the job, not your life
Donít give your life story or talk about any problems you
are having in your personal life. Stick to talking about the job and relevant, job
related experiences you have had.
10. Maintain eye contact
This may be a hard one,
especially for those with Asperger's. If you find it really tough to look a person in
the eye, then try this trickófocus on the end of the personís nose. Most people cannot
tell the difference.
This is just a small amount of the information you will need to know in order to
thrive with Asperger's syndrome as an adult, check out my book, the Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome
for useful advice.
Learn how to...
Make and keep friends
Get and KEEP a job
Minimize depression and add meaning to
Understand therapy options and much more.
This book is not
only for adults who have Asperger's but also for their loved ones
Which of these questions do you
want to solve?
Are you struggling in an
unhappy marriage and want to save it?
Do you have an Asperger's
loved one who cannot seem to get or hold a job?
Has the romance, fire and
passion gone out of your relationship and you are at the end of your rope?
Do you have an adult child
who is "stuck"? Still living at home? Living an isolated life with no
Craig, I want to help my loved one who has Aspergers and improve my relationship
For additional information on Asperger's Syndrome go to the web site
www.AspergersSociety.org. There you will
be able to sign up for the free Aspergers newsletter as well as get additional information on the
book, The Asperger's Syndrome Survival Guide.
Craig Kendall is the father of an Asperger's child and the author of "The Asperger's Syndrome Survival
Guide". You can find more information about living with Asperger's Syndrome by contacting him on
this site: www.AspergersSociety.org
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Craig Kendall, Author