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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tech Employment -- But Not Just Tech Employment

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss employment of people on the spectrum.  

At The Hechinger Report, Arianna Skibell writes:
It’s not a pretty picture at the moment,” said David Kearon, director of adult services at Autism Speaks. “People with autism are quite capable of lots of different types of work, but they’re not given the opportunities.”
Kearon of Autism Speaks said it makes sense that some people with autism thrive in tech environments, which tend to be predictable, systematic and rule-based. But he also stressed that everyone on the spectrum is an individual, with individual interests and skills.
“The autism spectrum is so wide. We know people with PhDs who are mechanical engineers and doctors and professors,” he said. “We also know that there are a lot of people with autism who struggle with daily activities, getting themselves up and out of the house and living in a safe way.”
And not everyone on the spectrum likes technology. One young girl at the podcast workshop said she was only there because her parents had signed her up.
“I just like to shop online,” she said.

Stephen Shore, a professor at Adelphi University in New York who studies autism, said encouraging children on the spectrum to follow their own passions can have a positive impact — as it did for him.
It is important to open tech opportunities for people on the spectrum.  But it is mistake to think of ASD people only as techies.  Contrary to stereotype, people on the spectrum may have skills in music, art, and social sciences, among many other things.