Tag: autism

Autism-Spectrum Disorders Landing Jobs

autism-spectrum disordersParents! There is good news for people with autism-specttrum disorders! The number of diagnosed autism-spectrum disorders has increased to about 1% of the population in the United States alone. That means that over three million people have autism-spectrum disorders of some kind.  According to the latest figures that were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that one in sixty eight children are identified as having autism-spectrum disorders.

Parents with special needs children including those with autism-spectrum disorders worry about their future employment.

Until very recently the lifetime employment of people with autism-spectrum disorders has been very low. According to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry only 50% of adults between the ages of 21 and 25 years old have held paid jobs outside of the home if they have autism-spectrum disorders. Even though many have higher education and are qualified for various positions, they often have difficulty in getting through the door because of difficulties with networking and interviewing.

Some characteristics of autism-spectrum disorders can include:

  • Average or above-average intelligence.
  • Poor or delayed motor skills
  • Lack of skill in interacting with others
  • Little understanding of the abstract uses of language, such as humor or give-and-take in a conversation
  • Obsessive interest in specific items or information
  • Strong reactions to textures, smells, sounds, sights, or other stimuli that others might not even notice, such as a flickering light
  • Inability to read facial expressions or body language well
  • Interpret language literally
  • Need others to explain exactly what behavior is expected
  • May have a rigid or unusual way of interacting with others.
  • May have difficulties with non-verbal communication including awareness of and understanding of facial expressions, gestures, etc.
  • May have an inability to pick up on unwritten social rules, so may stand too close to other people, talk about taboo subjects, be overly demanding, etc.
  • Rocking, tapping, fidgeting
  • Insistence on talking about only one or two subjects of personal interest
  • May have advanced skills in one area and very low skills in another – e.g. advanced computer programming skill but need support with daily living skills.

Thankfully some companies are recruiting people because of their autism spectrum disorders and not in spite of them.autism-spectrum disorders

Thorkil Sonne of SAP (A German multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations.) has children with autism. He understands that people with the disorders often possess the very attributes that SAP wants in certain employees. Often they have high intelligence and memory and the ability to see patterns and have a great attention to detail especially when doing repetitive tasks.

Sonne is quoted, “If we could use skills like I saw among people with autism in software testing, data analysis, quality control, that would be phenomenal… There is no reason why we should leave these people unemployed when they have so much talent and there are so many vacant jobs in the high tech sector.”

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with autism spectrum disorders receive support in school, but that stops after they graduate. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, found that 35 percent of young adults with autism-spectrum disorders were not employed or attending college or technical school within six years of graduating from high school.

Often people doing repetitive jobs get bored but this is not the case for people with autism-spectrum disorders.  Routine works well for them.

Children With Autism Want You to Know

children with autismBoth autism spectrum disorder and autism are general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

It is believed that autism appears to have its basis in very early brain development. The most obvious signs of autism are more likely to emerge between the ages of 2 and 3 years.

The goal is to find effective methods for earlier diagnosis for children with autism. Increasing awareness for the general public will help in appropriate actions and reactions to children with autism and will be invaluable.

 

CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

  1. I am not autistic.
  2. I am one of many children with autism.
  3. My autism does not define me as a person.
  4. My sensory perceptions are disordered. That means that things that don’t bother you might be painful for me.
  5. Receptive and expressive languages are difficult for me. It is easier for me to understand specific instructions made to me with an explanation of what I can expect to happen next.
  6. Children with autism think in a concrete manner. Please don’t use expressions like, “It’s a piece of cake.”  Those idioms or puns make no sense to me.
  7. It helps me if you show me how to do things instead of just telling me to do them.
  8. Be patient with my vocabulary.  Watch for things I do to show fear or worry because I can’t explain these things to you.
  9. Focus on the things I can do instead of on those things that I can’t do.
  10. Help me with my social interactions. I may want to be included even though I can’t express that.
  11. Please try to figure out what causes my meltdowns because children with autism can’t  put the pieces together.
  12. Please accept me as I am. I am worth it.

Do you have any children with autism in your life? We would love to hear from you.

Photo:  massdistraction

And The Winner Has Autism!

Alexis winemanAs a continuation on the subject of Autism, there has been some recent news that should offer hope and an understanding of what people with Autism can accomplish.

The news is about Alexis Wineman, who was crowned Miss Montana. She was the first Miss America Contestant who had been diagnosed with Autism in  the pageants 92 years.

Anyone who has listened to Alexis’s comments during her interviews heard her courage and desire to accomplish the same things that people without Autism can accomplish. She has been quoted as saying, “I have overcome a lot.  I have overcome so many of my symptoms.”

Alexis was diagnosed with Autism when she was 11 years old. She shared the fact that she was bullied because she has a speech impediment and is so shy. “I would stay in my room for hours, not wanting to talk to anyone. Growing up, I barely hung out with anyone and that’s because I was afraid of being laughed at.”

One of the things that Alexis has shared is much the same as what other successful people with disabilities have said. Her family never gave her an easy way out because of her disability. Quite the contrary, they made her do things that brought her out of her comfort zone. She was a cheerleader and ran cross country. She even became the captain of her cheerleading squad during her senior year of high school.

She has shared the fact that she entered the Miss Montana pageant on an impulse. What is so much to her credit and her family’s credit, she went into the pageant to win! Alexis Wineman plans to attend the University of Montana after her reign to study for a degree in art therapy.

Her talent for the Miss America Pageant was comedy. She said, “I realized if I laugh at myself, then that’s OK.”

Alexis Wineman did not win the Miss America Pageant but she was voted the people’s choice winner. What an amazing young woman. What an amazing family. What an amazing story!

You go Alexis. You are our newest hero!

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