Can you advise me on job training and employment prospects for adults with Aspergers?
Finding and keeping a job can be very tricky for adults with Asperger’s. Employment is necessary for independent living, but can be hard to come by. Many of the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome can affect job opportunities and long-term employment. However, some characteristics of Asperger’s can definitely be considered strengths for certain careers. Here are a few of these strengths and weaknesses.
Job Related Strengths of Asperger’s
- Excellent rote memory
- Concentrated focus-strong research and idea development skills
- Strong logical thinking skills-able to see beyond the basic idea and plan for future development
- Very honest by nature
- Strong attention to minute details-catches errors in product designs and written work
- Deep desire to follow the rules-works better when rules are obvious; desires to do the right thing in all situations
Job Related Weaknesses of Asperger’s
- Weak social skills-knowing and understanding the ways of a work environment; communicating with bosses, co-workers, and customers; understanding social cues, gestures, sarcasm, humor, and slang in conversations; may have speech issues like cluttered speech, that hamper communication .
- Lack of interest in self-care (poor personal hygiene)
- Poor organizational skills-messy work area and inability to complete tasks in a timely manner.
- Problems with change and transition-prefers set schedules and routines; needs advanced preparation for changes in job related tasks; unable to jump in and help due to transition issues.
- Sensory issues-may need sensory input to remain calm; may be hypersensitive to the noise, activities, and smells of an office environment.
There are options available to the adult with Asperger’s. Employment searches should be based on a few basic requirements. First, career choices should focus on the person’s special interests. These obsessive interests are a characteristic of Asperger’s. Choosing a career based on the special interest practically guarantees success due to the person’s knowledge and desire. Next, take social skills into consideration. If people skills and tolerance are weak, you should choose a job that is more solitary, or that does not include the general public.
Finally, it is important that you know your personal strengths and weaknesses due to Asperger’s. Employment that is built around your strengths will likely be an enjoyable and successful experience. There are resources available to help with your search. Many local colleges offer career counseling. Many cities have government agencies that assist disabled citizens with career counseling, job placement, and structured independent living. Contact your local disabilities services center or Autism support group for guidance. In the meantime, books like “Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook,” by Tony Attwood and Roger N. Meyer, a self-paced workbook for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, will show you how Asperger’s has affected past employment opportunities so you can improve the future outcome.
Thanks for reading,