What does it take to find more jobs for people with autism?
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More than 80 percent of all adults in Denmark with an autism diagnosis are either not working or working in a job way below their cognitive abilities and professional expertise. This is surprising, seeing that many studies have shown that companies benefit in various ways from planning their work to make it fit a broader segment of the population.
If we want more autistic people to work, we need to share knowledge and overcome prejudices related to working with autistic people. We need to tell all the positive stories about autistic people who are great at their jobs because they have been placed in suitable settings.
Already during the job interview, the hiring manager needs to be aware that people with autism might find it hard to provide satisfactory answers to abstract questions. As an example, they might not be able to describe their particular talents in detail. However, people with autism often posses some very in-depth competencies within a narrow area of knowledge and they are often very keen to use their skills. They really want to work.
Being a manager to people with autism does not require a PhD in psychology. All they need is a clear-cut job description and reasonable deadlines. And perhaps a buddy to talk to when they are in doubt about something. In fact, everybody benefits from that!
Very often, autistic people are met by challenges when they enter the world of neurotypical people and usually, hiring managers are not rewarded for taking a chance but only for playing it safe. For this reason, it takes a bit of courage from both parties if we want to find more jobs for autistic people.
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