Strengths and Abilities Exhibited by Individuals with ASD in the Workplace

November 15, 2021

Utilizing Skills Enhanced by Autism Should Be the Goal for Employment

A recent survey out of the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics found that just 22% of adults on the spectrum held any type of paying job. Unfortunately, the situation is not better in the United States, where the unemployment rate for people with autism is 85%. With these sobering statistics in mind, two British researchers set out to find which strengths people with autism exhibit in the workplace. To find these answers, the researchers relied on people who actually have the disorder themselves. Using an online questionnaire, the researchers asked people on the spectrum their views about their workplace strengths. A total of 66 individuals completed the questionnaire. After processing each of the subject’s responses, the study’s authors identified areas where the individuals felt they performed better than their neurotypical coworkers. The main strengths reported were advantages related to ways that people with autism think. These advantages included paying attention to tasks well, getting tasks done more efficiently, and personal qualities such as honesty and dedication. Many of the study’s participants also felt that having autism meant they could offer a distinctive and unique view on certain situations at work. The authors were thrilled to conduct this research since it was the first study to look at the experiences of those with autism in the workplace. Previous research only focused on other people’s views of how employees with autism perform at work. The pair of authors hope that by understanding the strengths that could be associated with having autism in the workplace, people on the spectrum may be able to identify their own strengths at work, which could lead to finding an appropriate, enjoyable and successful job. Ultimately, this research suggests that people with autism may have many work-related strengths that should be recognized and valued by employers. 

Original Study

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