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Interesting article on tough job market for autistics

Posted Oct 28 2011 12:00am
I see that U.S. News and World Report has published an interesting article on employment problems for those with autism. It rightly points out that this is the time supportive services from the pie-in-the-sky promises but shit-from-the-sewer delivery from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act end and the autistic person has to go out and face the cruel world. The article states: people with autism were only about half as likely to be working as people with disabilities in general (33 percent compared with 59 percent). If true, this means that having autism is a worse disability than most are in terms of employability. Of course, I am skeptical about statistics that are casually bandied around. The article interviews a professor named Scott Standifer who makes a statement that Ari Ne'eman should read: "We forget how important social relationships are in maintaining employment." For those who may not have read previous blog entries I have written, Ari Ne'eman is an individual in his early 20's who is an autism self-advocate who has never had paid employment of any kind who says that social pleasantry should be eliminated in the workplace as a criteria for evaluating new hires and job evaluations.

After this though, the article goes on to state that the lunch break is one of the more difficult things for persons with autism and the mandatory social requirement. I think of all the times in the days years ago, when I worked outside my home and usually ate lunch alone at a restaurant or bought something off a roach coach and was never required to socialize with anyone, so this is rather silly. The last 9 years or so that I worked I worked at home, so this was not an issue. Finding a job you can do at home may make some of the social problems we face easier. I realize this is probably not a feasible option for most on the spectrum, as it was for me for a time.

The article offers an opium-induced dream: Families of people with autism as well as employers and co-workers can all help to make the employment experience a positive one for these individuals. This is never going to happen. The sad truth is the world does not accommodate autistics and their families for their own convenience, regardless of what neurodiversity advocates think will happen. Though I have been out of the workforce for a while, this must ring even more true with nearly 10% unemployment nationwide.

Without going into the further specifics, (the interested individual can read the above-linked article) some rather pat solutions are given as well as certain jobs that autistics are supposedly good at.

The article is of interest to me as an individual on the spectrum with nearly 28 years experience of utter hell attempting to make a living with a fair amount of success. Though I'm retired now at a relatively young age, I will never forget those struggles. I now had to stoop to applying for disability which I probably won't get. I have contacted a new lawyer and have yet to hear from them and the deadline for filing a suit in federal court expires soon. It's probably not worth contacting any other attorneys and I'm probably going to have to drop the case, so it goes.

I wish there was a quick fix way of helping persons on the spectrum find and keep jobs but unfortunately there is none.
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