The Employability of Autistics

by Project Censored

Wired’s Smart List 2009 documented 12 Shocking Ideas That Could Change the World. Of the twelve ideas the most intriguing is “Thorkil Sonne: Recruiting Autistics.” With the gradually decreasing amount of jobs, it is expected that employers are looking for people with good communication and social skills. Although, some jobs require extreme concentration and total memory recall. Thorkil Sonne believes that these jobs could use the qualities that Autistic individuals have, and this creates an ethical dilemma because he is using Autism as a selling point, and possibly implying that he is more likely to hire individuals with Autism.

He reached this conclusion about six years ago, after his youngest son was diagnosed with this developmental disorder. In Sonne’s home land, Denmark, Autistics are viewed as unemployable. But because Sonne is familiar with IT (information technology) a field more fitting to people with Autism and other social and communication disorders, he learned that Autistics excelled in this area. What makes Information Technology such a good field for Autistics is the fact that it requires extreme concentration. Also, working in Information Technology requires one to be able to find even the smallest details in a quick, timely manner.

According to Sonne, Autistics are good at following structure and routines. They have excellent memory and pay strong attention to even the smallest details. They make far fewer mistakes, than most employees. According to research, employers found Autistics to be five to ten times more precise in their work than others. Although, the employee – employer relationship may be a little unusual, both companies and those with this developmental disorder will benefit greatly.

Student Researcher: Rachel Lounsbury
Faculty Instructor: Professor Elliot Cohen
Indian River State College
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