Aspergers and Employment

All of a sudden everyone’s talking about the issue of employment and Asperger Syndrome, a subject which I wrote about last year in my book, Asperger’s on the Job. People on the spectrum make great employees precisely because of Aspergers, not in spite of it.

Our aversion to socializing, chit chat, our desire to focus on the tasks at hand, make us desirable employees to any sensible employer.  But what we find when we get into the workplace is that we are judged on social issues, not on the quality of our work.

People may find our tics unnerving, our aversion to eye contact suspicious, our ability to throw a social conversation off track annoying.  We have our own way of thinking, our own way of communicating, and since we are a minority, our behavior is seen as inappropriate.  Tosh, so what if we’d rather talk about our special interests, which may be as diverse as science, art, music, math, etc. than talk about what Charlie Sheen is up to.  We see that as irrelevant nonsense.  We don’t want to be a team player, unless of course, it is called for.  While firefighters certainly need to have each others’ backs, there is no need for such emphasis on ‘the team’ if you’re an accountant or some other more solitary worker.  The open plan office has been proven to be counter-productive; I even quoted government reports in my book that back this up.  There’s too much distraction to stay focused, and creative thoughts go out the window as creativity needs a quiet gestation period to flourish.  This is true even for NTs (nonautistics) who enjoy the presence and energy of others.  The open plan office exists merely to save money, but …

… continue at Psychology Today’s Aspergirls.

Rudy Simone is the author of Asperger’s on the Job: Must-Have Advice for People with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism and their Employers, Educators and Advocates, and several other books on autism and related issues.  Her Aspergirls blog is hosted at Psychology Today.

Aspergers and Employment appears here by permission.

on 03/31/11 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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