Fitting in at the Office is a Challenge for Adults with Asperger’s

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As the parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome the employment statistics for adults with autism spectrum disorders are frightening. Recent reports claim that up to 85% of would be Asperger’s workers are not working a full time because overcoming their social limitations makes it difficult to get and keep a job.


Asperger’s can be difficult to understand because individuals that have it are often very intelligent and high functioning. They are often considered quirky but that nuance of tolerance can wear off with abundant exposure. In the daily routine of an office setting, certain Asperger’s traits can become very annoying. Sometimes it’s not easy to work with someone who is always right or misjudges social cues.


The flip side is that other Asperger’s traits make them excellent employees. Advocacy groups across the world have started stepping up to educate businesses in the importance of integrating AS workers into their business models. By making accommodations to assist in job performance productivity, employers can harness their abilities.


Thorkil Sonne, founder of  Denmark-based Asperger’s staffing resource Specialisterne explains, "These advantages come from several sources. The first is the ability of many autistic people to see details that do not register with most people. The second is the preference that many autistics have for highly focused and repetitive tasks. The Specialisterne consultants are less averse to the repetitive nature of the task. In fact, they gladly work in a quiet environment lacking the distractions of cell phone calls, water cooler gossip, and instant messaging. This extreme focus translates into increased productivity and accuracy."


Companies that work with Specialisterne or Chicago-based Aspiritech employ people with autism spectrum disorders instead of outsourcing work overseas. The result is typically favorable for both the employers and employees and similar programs are popping up everywhere.


Computer based employment seems to be ideal for adults with Asperger’s but it’s not the only option. Many famous people who have been diagnosed or speculated to have Apserger’s have found success in an array of different areas of employment. Some of which include:


Carl Jung, 1875-1961, psychoanalyst

Friedrich Nietzsche,   philosopher


Charles Rennie Mackintosh, architect/ designer


Isaac Newton, mathematician and physicist

Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

Alan Turing, mathematician/computer scientist/ cryptographer


Henry Cavendish, scientist

Nikola Tesla, scientist/engineer/inventor

Thomas Edison, inventor

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor

Benjamin Franklin, politician/writer/inventor


Henry Ford, industrialist

Howard Hughes, billionaire


Ludwig II, King of Bavaria

George Washington, politician

Thomas Jefferson, politician

Abraham Lincoln, politician


Ludwig van Beethoven, composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer


Seth Engstrom, World Champion Magician

Bobby Fischer, World Chess Champion


Mark Twain, humorist

Henry Thoreau, writer

Virginia Woolf, writer

H P Lovecraft, writer

George Bernard Shaw, playwright/critic/ Socialist


Andy Warhol, artist

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch painter

Michelangelo, Renissance artist

Charles Schulz, cartoonist


Marilyn Monroe, actress

Andy Kaufman, comedian

Alfred Hitchcock, film director

Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets/ puppeteer/writer/producer/director/composer


Where would we be without the contributions of these Asperger’s employees and countless more?  It’s important to overlook the social awkwardness of Asperger’s workers and give them the chance to change the world again. 


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks so much for taking a moment to leave a comment, Kwatery. It's important for people with disabilities to know that even though they have extra challenges, they can still find a place where they can succeed.
  • kwatery S
    kwatery S
    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!It's the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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