Employment Qualities in a Person with High Functioning Autism
High functioning autism careers should be those suited to the person’s skills and strengths. While high functioning autism affects a person’s communication and social skills, it also has some positive aspects that a prospective employer would consider useful. An adult with high functioning autism will likely be reliable and honest with a developed sense of what is right and wrong. They could have perfectionist tendencies and will work accurately, paying great attention to detail. Their work process is logical and they thrive on routine and are technically gifted.
Poor Career Choices for People with High Functioning Autism
A person with high functioning autism should avoid jobs where they will be in large offices with several other people. They generally prefer to work in solitude. Their teamwork skills are not good and correction may be perceived as criticism. Personal grooming and hygiene may be poor and a position in the public eye will not work well. Other weaknesses include organization, planning ahead and asking for help.
An autistic person will generally not last in a position that does not suit them. This can lead to depression and lowered self-esteem. It is important to find the best possible job to match natural gifts and abilities.
Suitable Career Choices for a Person with High Functioning Autism
High functioning autism careers may sometimes be linked to a person’s special interest. This interest is something they are usually extremely knowledgeable about. It can be on topics as diverse as coins, antiques, cars, computers, or maps. If an interest is not immediately obvious, it is a good idea for an adult with high functioning autism to undergo a vocational abilities assessment.
Many adults with autism work better in a private office away from other people. Working from home or freelancing jobs are suitable for some but not others. Here are a few suggestions of which careers work with the strengths an adult with high functioning autism may possess:
- Advanced visual reasoning and a fascination for construction toys and engines can be a basis for working as a mechanic or engineer.
- Artistic or musical ability - suited to a career in the arts.
- Drawing skills will help in drafting and design jobs.
- Many people with autism have a natural gift with computers and can train as programmers or software designers, and learn how to set up business computers and communication and network systems. Web design is another option.
- Some autistic people do well when working with animals and could consider being an animal trainer or veterinary technician.
- Handcrafts such as wood carving, jewelry making and ceramics can be turned into successful careers.
An adult with high functioning autism may need extra help when settling into a job, but can become a productive, valuable member of a company. The key is communication between employer and employee and finding the best possible working environment.
The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007