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Successful Careers and Marriages Likely for Many with Autism | Autism Key
 

 
 

Successful Careers and Marriages Likely for Many with Autism


The Autism Society of Minnesota recently hosted an "Autism and Employment" conference in which managers from 3M, Cargill and Best Buy took to the stage in praise of their employees with autism, counting them "among their very best."
 
With a looming shortage of workers due to the retirement of baby boomers, more companies are finding it advantageous to make accommodations in the workplace for their employees with ASD. In turn, those employees are becoming known for their extreme focus, ingenuity and dedication in the artistic and technological fields to which they are innately drawn. Their love of routines and specialized interests become assets when applied to the workplace environment.

At the conference, Temple Grandin, celebrity author and autism spokesperson, was on-hand to share her wealth of experience, even offering some advice to job seekers with autism. Since reading social cues is difficult, she recommended presenting a portfolio or examples of one’s work as the best course of action during the interview process.  "I never got a job based upon my personality," she quipped.

Grandin also exhorted parents to help their kids build skills well before they would be entering the job market, such as having them order their own food at restaurants, purchasing their own items at stores or having them run their own small businesses such as mowing neighborhood lawns.

Fostering independence for children with autism is creating a promising trend of doors being opened that were once closed.  The intersection of employer need and autism enlightenment is heartening news and will have a ripple-effect throughout our society. For example, a parent with a co-worker on the autism spectrum will be less likely to object to their child having a classmate with autism. And since children mirror their parents’ attitudes, bullying at school will be also diminished as well.
 
Another myth currently being dispelled about individuals with autism involves their inability to sustain meaningful marital relationships.

Autism expert Tony Attwood has laid this falsehood to rest by quoting studies on the attitudes towards marriage.  Asking what marriage meant to them, neurotypical individuals typically responded with "being in love," while those with autism consistently cited the elements of having a lifelong friend and helpmate.  Many marriages come undone when one or the other spouse falls out of love or becomes bored. People with autism, whose core values in a mate are an abiding friendship and routines, are actually much better suited for the lifelong commitments of marriage than their neurotypical counterparts.
 
Dr. Attwood believes that people with autism are the forerunners of a higher evolution and that it is incumbent upon the rest of us to realize this fact. Their burgeoning and continuing success, both professionally and personally, bears out this wisdom.

And as our society continues to embrace the widespread acceptance of those with autism, we will continue to see shattered stereotypes and misconceptions laid to rest, as is currently taking place in the areas of employment and marriage.


5 Responses to Successful Careers and Marriages Likely for Many with Autism

  1. “Dr. Attwood believes that people with autism are the forerunners of a higher evolution and that it is incumbent upon the rest of us to realize this fact. Their burgeoning and continuing success, both professionally and personally, bears out this wisdom.”

    Obviously Dr. Attwood’s “autism” is not the autism of those with severe Autistic Disorder, including those with intellectual disabilities and those living their lives in various levels of institutional care. Self injury and injurious behavior towards family and other caregivers, inability to function in ordinary aspects of daily life are serious problems for many with Autistic Disorder. Autistic Disorder is exactly what the names says … it is a disorder.

  2. Kim says:

    Yes, we all know that ASD means Autism Spectrum Disorder. And I perfer to say that Autism is not a disorder it simply a different way of being in the world. When this way of being is respected, on all levels, Autism folks feel safer in their world. Often people on certain place along spectrum do not feel safe. When this happens they act out to get needed space and/or to feel safe. Dr. Atwood works more with people with Asperger’s Syndrome which is on a different part of the spectrum and the more sensitive people you speak of.

  3. Susan says:

    I should’ve specified those who are high functioning are the forerunners of a new evolution. I hope and pray that the future brings an unlocking of the minds of lower functioning individuals so that their unique gifts may be brought forth as well. Apologies and Best Wishes, Susan Moffitt

  4. Kim says:

    And Susan, I am sorry I did not proof read my post! I was so un-nerved by the first comment that I was typing too fast and tada! Typos. Thank you so much for all you are doing to bring awarenss to the lives of those with ASD.

  5. “For example, a parent with a co-worker on the autism spectrum will be less likely to object to their child having a classmate with autism. And since children mirror their parents’ attitudes, bullying at school will be also diminished as well.”

    This is a pretty interesting theory. I do think this is a step in the right direction.

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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