Autism: Life full of struggle and success
Over the past ten years, the number of people with autism spectrum disorders has increased tenfold. Earlier autism was diagnosed in 4 to 5 children per 10 thousand, and now every 110th child is diagnosed. This makes the issue of adaptation of people with autism important not only from a social point of view, but also economical. In some areas the issue is solved well, and people with autistic disorder become prosperous professionals.
Autism is a disorder arising from improper development of the brain and is characterized by severe deficits in comprehensive social interaction and communication as well as limited interests and repetitive actions. From 0.5% to 10% of the individuals with the so-called autism spectrum disorder exhibit unusual abilities, for example, narrow isolated skills such as memorization of minor facts. In case of the so-called Savant syndrome, when an individual has not two, but one hemisphere of the brain, extraordinary talents are often revealed in the narrow areas combined with complete helplessness in day to day life. The majority of autistic individuals (90%) are unemployed or underemployed. American company Aspiritech employs people with autism to conduct software testing.
Aspiritech office, due to the individual characteristics of the workers, is a strange-looking place. Some cannot stand bright light, others cannot tolerate interference with their personal space, some workers can get up and run around the office, or shout something unintelligible. However, the company believes that autistic individuals are excellent employees. The company has very reputable clients including Microsoft and Oracle, who are quite satisfied with the quality of the services provided.
Over 80% of Aspiritech employees suffer from Asperger's syndrome that is considered an autistic disorder that does not interfere with basic socialization. People with Asperger syndrome can be very passionate about some particular area of expertise and be high-class specialists in it. It is no accident that Hans Asperger called some of his young patients "little professors." They are capable of long-term concentrations and exhibit phenomenal, even eidetic, memory. Autism is often combined with extraordinary memory and amazing ability to do various calculations.
Given that testing requires high attention to detail and performance of routine tasks, autistic individuals are well-suited for the job. Aspiritech assures that their employees are no less clever than healthy people, but more efficient in the designated field. Employees of the firm are allowed to be late for work and are not reprimanded for errors detected in their work. They make decent living - $2,200 to $2,500 a month, the Associated Press reports.
The son of the founder Moshe Vittsberga at some point had problems finding work due to Asperger Syndrome diagnosis. For this reason, the Aspiritech undertook to help people with autism. According to specialists, work with computers is well suited for autistic individuals. In addition, many high-end programmers are people with certain traits of autism or Asperger syndrome.
Among professions preferred for autistic individuals are accounting, librarianship, archival work and drawing, and art. Autistic individuals are good at archeology, paleontology, and museum work. Some people with autism are good at jobs involving visual thinking - computer-aided design, architectural modeling, industrial design, etc.
For example, in 2008, a fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Wendy Jacob founded a studio where she worked with autistic individuals to create radically new art and design solutions in the field of interior design and the design of everyday objects specifically for people with autism spectrum disorders. This is the beginning of a niche market.
Autistic individuals are also good at work associated with fulfilling certain actions at certain times. Autistic individuals do not need a team and can work quite effectively in isolation. However, work related to rapid processing of information in short-term working memory is not suitable for them. They should avoid such areas as history, political science, business, philology, or higher mathematics.