To be encouraged by the chances of people on the autism spectrum being gainfully employed one day, read “Why the Australian Defence is Recruiting Cyber Analysts on the Autism Spectrum,” written by Robert D. Austin, Michael Fieldhouse, Aiyaswami Mohan, and Peter Quinn in the December 07, 2017 issue of the Harvard Business Review.
This is one of the most encouraging articles I’ve read about autism employment, well, ever.
In our own family’s lives, as we near “transition” for Jackson from high school to college and eventually, the much hoped for transition to paid employment, this article gives me hope that Jackson is on the right path. All of us have worked hard and the ultimate goal for Jackson is the independent life that he envisions for himself. Does he have a disability, yes, but he also has so many amazing talents that typical people do not have like his ability to spot patterns.
Jackson sees patterns where others do not, he can spot similarities in languages, in songs, in art, that others don’t see. Some physicians we’ve seen and educators that have taught him have pathologized these deep interests in languages and music as “splinter skills” and don’t give Jackson full credit for his intellect because of his social challenges.
I am hoping to prove this idea wrong, and prove that Jackson’s gifts are not only worthy of employment, like the vocational employment that states typically try to provide to people with autism, but that he is able to use his gifts in math, art, pattern recognition and linguistics, to carve out a place for himself in a setting that matches his intellect.
We want Jackson to gain professional employment and we know he can succeed given the right employment setting that accommodates for his unique brain. This is an area that I am researching and trying to figure out on Jackson’s behalf, and I will continue to post about transition challenges and hopefully, employment victories.