Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…
Eight Tips for Employment and Job Success for Those with Autism / Asperger’s Syndrome
Finding…and keeping…a job is often a challenge for those on the autism spectrum. Sensory issues can come between you and success.
But there is good news. Firms are beginning to realize that employees with autism can make excellent workers and some are making special efforts to find them. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that employers are beginning to recognize the contribution of autistic employees “Some Employers Find Those with Autism Especially Suited For Jobs“.
But to be successful, those on the autism spectrum need to carefully consider which jobs are best for them. To help, I have listed eight employment tips from my book, Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Eight Issues to Consider In Selecting a Job
When you are looking for a job that will be friendly to the sensory issues so often found in adults with AS, try to keep these things in mind:
1. Number of employees
How many people work in the organization? How many will you have contact with at any given time, during any given day? How much interaction with people is required in general?
Are there cubicles, or will you have an office with a door that you can close? Is there background music playing in the office? Will that bother you? Does anyone have radios playing? What is the general sound proofing like? Are there lots of conversations going on when you walk around—especially if there are cubicles—or does it seem pretty quiet?
Is there anywhere you can go for a sensory break? A lounge or break room that is separate from the rest of the building? Maybe a bench outside if the weather is good?
4. The boss
Does the supervisor seem understanding and knowledgeable about sensory issues? Does he or she seem like they will be able and willing to accommodate your needs?
5. Lights and odors
Try to notice the lights in the building. Will they bother you? Is there anything you can do to help filter the light if they do? Take notice of if there are any other sensory things likely to bother you; are you too close to the kitchen, where you will smell people’s food cooking? Do the perfumes of co-workers get to you? Try to notice these things before you accept a job so you can best gauge if you will be able to handle it and perform well once and if you do get the job.
Are there a lot of meetings you will be expected to attend? Is there anyone in the organization who you think could help you interpret social situations you may have problems with?
Are there strict deadlines or will you be allowed to pretty much go at your own pace? How do you do under pressure?
How long is the commute from your home? Will you need to take public transportation (and, if so, does it go to your job), or can you drive? Are the logistics of the commute something you feel you can handle?
If you ask yourself all of these questions and any other ones you can come up with, you will be more likely to find a job that will fit your sensory needs. If you are not careful in finding a job that fits your sensory needs, you may find yourself burned out in a very short time. Failures are not fun for anyone and can tend to make one bitter towards working in general, so it is best to choose carefully. Of course, one should keep trying even if a job does not work out, but do choose with care. Some jobs are just better suited for people with AS than others.
For examples of such jobs, check out Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Employment issues are covered extensively in my book, Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger’s Syndrome. This is “must read” materials for those navigate the challenges of Asperger’s syndrome and autism.