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Individuals with autism too often have been underrepresented and discriminated against in employment. A 2017 report from Drexel University found that only 14 percent of adults with autism held paid jobs in their communities. Another study found that employment rates for people on the spectrum were about 25 percent lower than those for people with other disabilities. Qualified autistic job seekers are being turned away: 45 percent of adults on the spectrum were over educated for the job they were performing. Of the 35 percent of autistic adults with college degrees, only 15 percent are employed.
Although almost seven thousand miles away, Leora Sali’s tone of determination resonated her passion for her work. She agreed to speak with me about the program she co-manages in Israel, Roim Rachok. “For the first time, he called his grandmother and planned a visit on his own. This is huge!” Sali described how the teens in this program, for the first time, are able to “decide what they do and how they do it.”
It is common knowledge that people with disabilities tend to experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment. Many employers seem to be unwilling to give disabled individuals a chance when they feel that their company’s success is at stake. However, according to the latest employment statistics, autistic adults are the most unemployed group when all individuals with disabilities are compared. The social idiosyncrasies of this group may lead employers to believe that they cannot complete the necessary tasks for the position, which is clearly an incorrect assumption. As someone with Asperger’s, I too have struggled to find full time employment, but my knowledge of what makes an ideal working environment has been very helpful with my journey. I would like to share my thoughts in this regard, and I hope that you find my advice to be beneficial as you enter the working world.
Although many students with autism possess incredible talents and abilities, especially related to spatial reasoning, only about 10 to 20 percent of adults with autism are employed (Born, 2011; Kavilanz, 2016). Providing code education to students with autism is not only critical for providing these students with a fulfilling and enjoyable educational experience, but also for their success as adults.
Many people struggle with finding a job and establishing a career for themselves. In addition, there are often multiple applicants for only one job vacancy, which can be discouraging to any jobseeker. However, for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD), this search is often much more difficult. The social difficulties that result from ASD can cause these individuals to struggle in job interviews and in finding a work environment that is appropriate for their needs. When I look at my own experiences as someone who has ASD, finding stable employment has always been difficult for me. However, I have learned lessons during my journey that may be helpful for individuals with ASD, their parents and their teachers as they transition into the world of work.