How does Aspergers affect Employment Prospects

How does Aspergers affect Employment Prospects?

by Gavin Bollar,
March 17th 2008

A few weeks ago, I had an amazing figure of 85% unemployment for aspies left on my blog in comments. I disagreed and decided to put it to the test.

I did a fairly unstructured and not necessarily reliable survey and came up with the following figures;

Survey Results
Of the 90 respondents, 48% were employed in either full-time or part time positions and a further 26% were studying. The remaining 26% was split into 2% housewives/househusbands, 13% not looking for a job and 11% unemployment.

The 11% figure is probably slightly higher than global unemployment figures but isn’t significantly higher.

In the graph below, the red areas indicates unemployment, blue indicates employment and green indicates study/school.

It seems obvious to me that the Aspergers condition alone is not sufficient to prevent an individual from obtaining and keeping a job.

What Types of Jobs can Aspies do?
Probably the best thing that an aspie can do is to find work that is either related to their special interest or work which doesn’t conflict with too many of the general aspie characteristics. While there is a tendency for aspies to seek jobs in computing and academic fields, there is no reason why aspies cannot be employed in lots of other areas.

Special interest jobs are very good for aspies as they can often be quite innovative and can easily take on leader, designer and developer roles. Unlike their co-workers, aspies often live and breathe their special interests and therefore have a genuine interest in pursing them – rather than simply focusing on the job at hand.

Low Profile jobs are good for aspies with difficult comorbid (associated) conditions or low degrees of social tolerance. Not all aspies need this but some will thrive in closed environments. Programmer and factory roles are often suitable here.

There’s also a great answer on Yahoo which talks about Aspergers Employment Strengths and Weaknesses. It’s well worth a read.

I’ve also found some free PDFs on helping aspies gain employment on the Berkshire Autistic Society Web Site.

Some useful books on the Subject
Hawkins, Gail; “How to Find work that works for people with Asperger Syndrome

Grandin, Temple; Duffy, Kate; Attwood, Tony; “Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

Meyer, Robert N; Attwood, Tony; “Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook: An Employment Workbook for Adults With Asperger Syndrome

If you look at the related books in Amazon, you’ll find several other good titles.

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