Many of the very same traits that can make fitting into society a challenge have become the foundation of successful careers for people with autism. Traits common to the autistic mind, such as the need for structure and intense focus on interests, can be an assets in the work force. Office politics and gossip, often the cause of workplace strife, tend to be of little interest to employees with autism, and complex systems that baffle many of us are often easily understood by individuals with autism.
Finding Successful Careers for People with Autism
The key to successful employment for many individuals with autism is in seeking career choices that suit their specialized interests and talents. Many with autism tend to focus intensely on very narrow fields of interest. In many instances, these interests can be developed into a very successful careers. While skills can be uneven in many people with autism, those related to their individual interests tend to be very strong, often well above average.
The sciences are often a good career choice for individuals with autism. Precise attention to detail and strict adherence to routine practices and procedures are critical to many science related fields. While the average person may find these aspects of the job difficult to adjust to, structured environments are often where the autistic are at their very best. From top scientists and researchers to lab technicians or assistants, many on the autism spectrum excel in the work of science.
A great many people with autism can be found among the most talented and successful computer programmers and software engineers. Working with computers can be an ideal career for individuals with autism, taking advantage of strengths geared towards order, complex systems, and mathematics. Also, working conditions common to computer technology fields can be well suited to the autistic, as employees often work in their own space, with just a computer for company, limiting the need for the social interaction that can be so difficult for individuals with autism.
Journalism can be an area in which autistic individuals may find their niche. The best journalists must be able to set personal emotions and opinions aside when covering a story, reporting just the confirmed facts. Gathering such facts in an organized and unbiased manner can be second nature to many with autism.
The need for repetition is common in autism, making jobs that would seem tedious to many quite suitable, even comforting, to many employees with autism. For instance, manufacturing can be a good fit for individuals with these tendencies, especially assembly line work.
Working with Animals
Autistic people for whom social interaction is a major issue may find working with animals a comfortable employment field. Many who have difficulty interacting with people have no such issues with animals, making fine veterinarians or veterinarian's assistants. Others find their place in the farming industry, tending to the needs of livestock, or working with a pet grooming establishment.
Vast Potential and Lost Opportunities
These are but a few examples of the many possible careers for people with autism. Since the autism spectrum encompasses individuals with a wide variety of levels of skill and function, no one career or employment field can be singled out as the best for the autistic to pursue. Individuals with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism are quite likely to have many more options available to them than individuals affected with more severe forms of ASD.
However, large numbers of people at all points of the autism spectrum are very employable, making exceptionally skilled and dedicated employees, a fact that seems, as of yet, virtually lost on the business community. Hopefully, as the level of autism awareness increases, society will become informed enough to realize the potential currently being wasted as employers fail to provide autistic individuals opportunities to shine.