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Autism at work: good jobs for autistic people

autism - It used to be an exclusion criterion for a career. In the meantime it looks different: People with autism spectrum disorders have a realistic chance of finding a really good job on the job market. The prospects are good, especially in the IT sector ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Autistic: Opportunities in the job market

Gone are the days when autistic people were best able to find shelter in a workshop for the disabled. There are now demanding, well-paid jobs for them.

And not because the companies suddenly mutated into welfare organizations, but because specifically autistic people Bring qualitiesthat are needed in the labor market.

There is the company, for example Auticon from Berlin, which already employs over 100 autistic people and places them as IT consultants with other companies.

The reference list reads impressively: Allianz, Siemens, Henkel, Telekom, Infineon are there. The who’s who of the German economy have apparently long been making use of the Auticon pool.

Even glamor entrepreneur Richard Branson has already noticed the Berliners. Through the Virgin Group, Branson and the non-profit Esmée Fairbairn Foundation invested in Auticon’s London subsidiary at the end of 2016.

Both donors are said to have pumped a mid six-digit amount into the company. The money should above all in the UK market to be invested.

For Auticon founder Dirk Müller-Remus, however, this is not the end of the story. His latest project is called Diversicon. The name is program. While Auticon has specialized in the IT sector, Diversicon should position itself more broadly - and autistic people also in other professions and industries in the first job market bring.

Müller-Remus collected the money for Diversicon via the crowdfunding platform Companisto. Diversicon is currently under construction.

Müller-Remus is by no means a monopoly. Also Software giant SAP has set itself the goal of filling one percent of its jobs with people from the autism spectrum in the long term. At the end of 2015, according to the company, 100 autistic people were already employed in eight countries, and now there should be 120.

In order to push the quota even higher, SAP even hosted an application day in autumn 2016 that was specifically aimed at IT-savvy autistic people.

Autistic: Rationality as an advantage

Of course, generalizations are always tricky, especially in autism the spectrum is wide. There are autism spectrum disorders, early childhood autism, Asperger's autism. Autistic people are individuals with unique traits and characteristics.

However, some general statements can be made. For example this: Autistic people make decisions as opposed to non-autistic people less on an emotional basis. This was only recently demonstrated by King’s College in London.

Example: If you give 70 euros to a non-autistic person, then he is far more likely to gamble with the money if he can "lose 50 euros" and not if he can "keep 20 euros". The prospect of losing money increases the urge in non-autistic people to actively prevent this scenario.

In principle, both scenarios are completely identical. An autistic person, however, would Psychological games leave completely indifferent, he would make purely rational decisions.

Autistic people are seen psychologically atypicalsays psychologist Punit Shah of King’s College, "but their nature can also be beneficial in situations where it could be useful to follow not the heart but the mind.“

And further: “Our work helps explain why autistic people make more logical decisions because they themselves not be influenced so easily by their feelings or gut feelings.“

Autism: An Evolutionary Advantage?

Not infrequently, autism is perceived by outsiders as a disease, as something utterly terrible. For scientists at the University of South California, however, autism could even be one evolutionary advantage have been.

Brain researcher Jared Reser established the term back in 2011 Autism Advantage: Autism Advantage. According to his thesis, individual genes that are responsible for autism did not survive the millennia purely by chance. On the contrary, they have been passed on from generation to generation because they must have been beneficial for their carriers - especially in hunter-gatherer societies.

Spatial Intelligence, Concentration and memory skills - in an environment where there was little social interaction but unsteady sources of food, these were indeed great advantages. Autistic people would have been the prototypical self-sufficient people who, due to their preference for routines and habits, must have found it less difficult to hunt and forage than others.

Now our environment has changed in the meantime. The workplaces have become significantly more interactive and communicative. And yet: The properties mentioned are still of inestimable value - by the way, also for non-autistic people ...

Autistic: What are their strengths?

The current state of research suggests that many autistic people ...

  • very thorough and accurate work.
  • excellent with numbers, Data and formulas.
  • think analytically and logically.
  • are honest.

Talents that are not necessarily in abundance on the job market, but are all the more in demand.

Incidentally, it is not only about numbers people, also outstanding Foreign language skills or artistic and musical talents are not uncommon among autistic people (for example also in Asperger's autistic).

A particularly good attitude argument was recently provided by an autistic person who wrote a letter to the editor on the autism blog Ella's blog.

“Whenever I see my colleagues working and talking during the day, I am always amazed to find that I am apparently not only autistic Special feature in our company represent. The way how the boss is badly talked about or you loudly announce that you're back not in the mood I would rather think twice, ”wrote the user named Daniel.

“Because I get paid to work there. That means that someone has so much trust in me that I do my job well that he trusts me even transfers money for it. Because I know myself very well and sometimes even wonder how I manage to meet myself every morning to put on independentlyI admire him as much as he thinks Tolerate mistakes can. ”The contribution shows sensitivity - and must sound like music to the ears of many employers.

Nonetheless, the “typical” benefits of an autistic person can sometimes also be seen as Stumbling blocks prove. Take honesty, for example: It can be fatal even in the job interview, even in Dealing with colleagues Small white lies can preserve friendship - and company peace.

Another example: if someone always takes idioms literally, they could run into problems in the office and elsewhere. Some autistic people find it difficult to understand sarcasm or irony, and they cannot even small talk.

In areas where you have to lead, advise or read other people - for example in the human Resource - (by no means all, but) many autistic people are overwhelmed.

What jobs are there for autistic people?

Typical fields of application are in the IT sector; many autistic people are virtually predestined for working with the computer. Activities and job profiles are, for example:

  • Data entry and database management
  • IT migration
  • IT security
  • Software testing and quality control
  • Big Data and Business Intelligence

But: The active integration of autistic people into the primary labor market is, in principle, still at the very beginning. Means: There are a number of adequate fields of application that have yet to be discovered and uncovered.

For example, fields like Quality management, development, design offer - and basically all professions that involve a lot Research or analysis have to do.

What is important to autistic people in the job?

Important for employers: How do I integrate the autistic employee into the team? What do I have to consider?

For example, a place in an open-plan office may not necessarily be the right choice because the noise level is high and distractions are omnipresent. These points are important to many autistic people:

  • Fixed contact persons or mentors
  • Quiet working environment
  • Repetitive processes
  • No time pressure

Asperger's Syndrome: These Superstars Got It

There are plenty of them in Silicon Valley. We're not talking about brilliant ideas, startups or venture capital. It's about the Asperger syndrome. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are said to be, as well as Larry Page, and even the late Steve Jobs.

"The Asperger's Syndrome is different from other autism spectrum disorders primarily in that there is often no developmental delay or no developmental lag in the Language or cognitive development is available ”, this is the definition of the Federal Autism Association. “Most people with Asperger's Syndrome have a normal general, in some areas especially high intelligence. On the other hand, in the psychomotor development and the social interaction abnormalities to be determined. "

This is exactly where the problem lies: Asperger's cannot be diagnosed as easily as a tumor. The boundaries are fluid, the spectrum is huge. Tests such as the Adult Asperger Assessment (AAA) and the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) try to approximate the phenomenon.

Asperger's Syndrome is some of the most famous personalities in world history Attributed to, including thinkers and artists such as Einstein, Mozart, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Vincent van Gogh, Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. More recently, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Woody Allen, Al Gore and Michael Jackson, for whom the suspicion was expressed several times, should be mentioned.

But mind you, it is Speculation. Also because Asperger's Syndrome was not scientifically discovered until the 20th century. In the case of Mozart or Michelangelo, one must therefore rely on historical traditions. How were they? How did you behave? What qualities, quirks, or ticks did they have?

The signs, however, that Asperger's could also be translated as “nerd syndrome” or “genius syndrome” - or “genius nerd syndrome” - are increasing.

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[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]