Asperger Syndrome and Employment by Sarah Hendrickx (Jessica Kingsley, £13.99) is full of tips on how people with Asperger Syndrome (AS) can get stable jobs.
The best advice for employees comes in the case study of Simon, who was sacked because he found the hours too long. A supported employment scheme badly advised him not to mention his AS and he didn’t mention it later either. It was a secret till too late. Autistics must disclose their condition to their employers or they can’t expect support. Another theme is the benefit of working from home.
The best advice for employers comes from an AS man: “I need mini goals …such as ‘put away the dishes’…When I’m told to ‘clean the kitchen’, this is a broad request.” It’s this breaking down of tasks into components (Applied Behavioural Analysis) that is used in Autistic schools.
The book shows great empathy. It discusses the ridiculous questions interviewers ask AS applicants and highlights how hard it is to write CVs for people unable to sell themselves.
The book also contains a study of a Danish IT firm that employs Autistics to do repetitive tasks that others find tedious. The tasks need obsessive accuracy and concentration, all Autistic traits. Companies like these are the best hope for Autistic employment.
There are flaws though. An AS employee says: “People who have AS should be showered with gifts…and given priority.” Why? We’re not better or worse than other people; no-one has to help us.