Best Jobs for Autistic People
First ask, "What's Your Big Interest?"
I found this question in an article at Computer World, discussing the "secret" of Asperger's in the IT world. This is a fabulous question to explore career interests with someone on the Spectrum. Your "big interest" is the place you need to start when looking into jobs. I know some children with Asperger's who know uncanny amounts of knowledge about birds, computers, and engineering. Those kids know more than any adult on their "big interest". So, ok, I know that (I, my kid, my client) is obsessed with (legos, animals, numbers, butterflies, etc.). Now what?
Picking jobs that have the right fit
These are some suggestions for jobs that are more likely to have the right fit:
What types of jobs are best for Autistic People?
Temple's discussion gives four types of careers.
The first is careers that are typically poorly suited for Autistics and require a great deal of multitasking, stress the use of short-term memory and/or have high expectations for social interaction. These are jobs like waiting tables, cashiers, and air traffic controllers.
The second is careers for those who think and learn visually. Drafting, computer programming or engineering, designing, and animation, all reward those who are "visual thinkers", don't mind solitary, mundane, and reptitive tasks.
The third group is for those who excel at math, facts or music, but are not necessarily visual thinkers. Accounting, copy editor, and inventory control, for example, reward those good at repetitive tasks that involve numbers, rules, and specifics.
The last group is for non-verbal/low verbal people with Autism. These tasks do not necessarily require large amounts of knowledge, but rather the ability to engage in tasks in quiet environments with a specific skill set. Job choices here largely depend on an individuals capabilities and sensory needs. Some examples given by Temple were data entry and library reshelving positions.
What about getting the job?
One of the best suggestions in her discussion: Sell your work, not your personality. I always encourage you to make a portfolio of your work. Industries and positions that will "buy" skills will be a better match than those interested in social graces and social presence. Consider seeing a therapist, who works with client's who have Asperger's and Autism, who can help you develop better interviewing skills.
Above all, make sure that the jobs you apply and interview for align well with your Big Interest, your sensory needs, and your strengths.
Do you have any suggestions for those with Autism and Asperger's who are job seeking? Would love to see them in the comments section.