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Living with Asperger's: Employment Prospects & Options

written by: Jayant R Row • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 8/9/2010

It is a known fact that people that are afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome during their childhood, grow up to become intelligent individuals who contribute as much to society as people without the condition. Asperger’s and employment can go together and people with AS can have rewarding careers.

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    Challenges for Employment of People with Asperger's

    Autism ribbon Social interaction and communication required during the process of any gainful employment makes it difficult for persons afflicted with Asperger's. They can have difficulty in maintaining a two-way conversation quite often essential during the execution of a job. They may also find it beyond their abilities to understand any verbal instructions that they receive and are more comfortable with routines that are structured and do not change. Such individuals can get very upset if their routine changes. They do not work well with others and cannot understand emotions that others exhibit and therefore seem indifferent or react in ways that are not proper. They may engage in repetitive behavior like hand flapping or rocking back and forth and irritate co-workers. Their response to sights, sounds and other sensory perceptions may be different from that which is normal.

    All these symptoms can cause problems with co-workers and therefore make Asperger's and employment not very compatible. Employers need to be more aware of the disorder before they will take on such persons in their employment.

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    Jobs for Persons Having Asperger’s Syndrome

    Asperger’s affected persons can find work related to the special interests that they have. It is well established that people with AS have special interests which they are more than normally adept at and if they find jobs that play to their strengths they can have long and rewarding careers.

    Most people with AS tend to look at jobs in the computer field or in academia. Such jobs require less social interaction and will allow the persons to work all by themselves without a great deal of need to interact with other people. Other jobs that Asperger’s sufferers can look at include factory or assembly line roles. These positions have limited need for meeting and dealing with co-workers

    People with Asperger’s also have difficulties in dealing with jobs that have deadlines as this would involve working with other project members, something they find it difficult to do. They are much better suited for highly technical jobs like troubleshooting which do not have such deadlines.

    Asperger's and employment can become a reality if the affected persons make a transition from school to employment gradually. Work experience while at school will give them some exposure to the workplace and better prepare them for the time when they take up full time employment.

    The type of minds they possess will suggest the right field for them to be in. Visual thinkers are better placed in work involving design or drafting and even photography. Some are more comfortable with thinking in set patterns and would make good researchers or statisticians, while mathematics, computer programming, music or engineering would also be suitable.

    Asperger’s affected persons may have an affinity for facts and so could make good journalists (although there may be a problem with deadlines), record keepers and librarians.

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    Picture Credit

    Image released under GNU Free Documentation License