News Item - Only autistic people need apply

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marg's Man, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Marg will tell you that I listen to PM one of our top current affairs programmes on the train as I head home at night. I also listen to its sister programme AM in the mornings. They are balanced programmes that are not afraid to offend the politicians but they ARE respected for accuracy. I reckon that if both sides are saying the shows are biased in favour of the other then they MUST be balanced. However they often do stories on other topics as well such as social breakthroughs, such as this one.

    Last Night PM did a story with the somewhat provocative title Only autistic people need apply.
    Here's a link to the transcript. For those who want to listen the page has a podcast link as well
    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2865546.htm

    Marg's Man
     
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Marg's Man, thanks for posting this. There is a similar program here in my city, but they have not been as successful as they had hoped in placing people on the Autism spectrum in long-term employment. Personally, I believe that they were focusing on the wrong industries. The article you posted mentions IT and Software Testing in particular. I work in IT and have many co-workers who seem more than a little spectrum=ish to me. Technical Writing, Process Design, Quality Assurance all seem to be areas where people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can thrive, in addition to the more technical areas.

    Now you've got me thinking. I wonder where I can go with this...

    Trinity
     
  3. I hear you Trinity!

    My Dad was a programmer back in the day when computers filled entire rooms, big rooms ...LOL. husband is an attorney, but has a legal office management software company on the side. easy child is an Artificial Intelligence graduate and computer engineer & difficult child is majoring in Computer Science but already has a booming independent consultant business on the side. He's known as the "go to guy" for serious IT problems by local businesses. However, they have to come pick him up and then drive him home. People do it, because he's fast , cheap, and gets the job done. He doesn't know how to "work it".

    No....there's no autism in our family :)

    Valerie
     
  4. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Marg's Man,

    Thanks for sharing this. difficult child 1 became interested in computers when he was seven. His entire world revolves around them. When he was younger, whenever he wasn't able to use his computer, he was miserable to be around. We tried unsuccessfully to get him to develop other interests too. Nothing we did worked.

    When he was fourteen, we brought him to see a therapist who gave us very valuable advice. He told us that difficult child 1 is not going to change. He told us we needed to let difficult child 1 pursue his extreme interest in computers and guide him toward a career in this direction. So, while difficult child 1 continued to do poorly in all subjects he wasn't interested in, he became involved in a dual enrollment program provided by our local high school. He took computer courses and not only received college credit for them, but also credit towards graduation from high school.

    To make a long story short, he spent as much time as possible with the IT employees at the high school, learning as much as he could from them. They gave him old computer parts and difficult child 1 used them to fix and build computers. His room was a disaster zone!!! When he wasn't fixing computers for others, he wrote code for hours on end, and spent the rest of his time gaming.

    Now, he is almost finished with his first year at our local community college. He has an apartment nearby. Like Valerie's difficult child, he makes money by fixing computers for local businesses, students, etc... He doesn't drive and many people just drop off their broken computers at his apartment. Needless to say, his apartment is filled with computer parts, manuals, tools, etc...

    He is majoring in web design and is thinking about transferring to a four year college when he graduates next year. While he still has many issues, he is doing much better than I ever imagined he would. He is happy!!! He has a small group of friends for the first time in his life. He enjoys his work and excels in his computer classes. He is learning to take care of himself!!! In the not too distant past, I NEVER in my wildest dreams, imagined he would be able to do this well. I'm just so proud of him!!!:D
     
  5. SFR,

    Now that's what I'm talking about! I think that your difficult child and my difficult child would get along famously. Isn't it exciting that there is a real need and place for their skills? I'm just amazed that people will actually come to pick up our difficult child (he doesn't drive and probably never will - trust me , that's a good thing) and work around his schedule. It sounds like your difficult child has a very similar thing going on.

    Indeed, who would have guessed?

    Valerie
     
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    In my experience, IT is a wonderful field for those on the Autism spectrum. Not just because of the skills required to do the work, but because of the "corporate culture". Quirky behaviour and eccentricity are run-of-the-mill, iffy social skills are often expected from IT people, and there seems to be a great deal of willingness to accommodate individual needs and preferences, whether they fall under the definition of disability or not. Years ago, I managed a Computer Support Centre for a very large corporation. They were revamping all of their business processes and redoing the entire IT area of the office. They went as far as to install individual lighting in each staff member's cubicle based on their preferences.

    Lots of companies are willing to put a lot of effort into supporting their IT folks because they have such a valuable skill and can save or make a company a tremendous amount of money.

    Honestly, outside of an IT environment (where my eccentricities and Aspie-ness barely register as unusual), I don't think I would have come nearly as far in my career. It truly is an area where Aspies can thrive.
     
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