Why Some Companies Are Trying to Hire More People on the Autism Spectrum

“The majority of those with autism are unemployed, but new pilot programs at big companies, such as EY and Microsoft, are discovering unexpected benefits from having “neurodiverse” colleagues.”

“But Austin says that ultimately these programs have to make sense for the company’s bottom line.The pilot programs — which companies go into with little expectation — have been producing good results in terms of finding new talent and productivity gains. “Ultimately, it’s not a charity thing because it’s providing far more benefit than it’s costing. Every company I know that’s gone into this in a serious way has gone into it with the idea that this is going to be net benefit positive,” he says.”

Read the whole article: Why Some Companies Are Trying to Hire More People on the Autism Spectrum

Autistic employees can give companies an edge in innovative thinking

The Guardian article on Specialisterne

“More companies are ditching the stereotypes of Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man and Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and realising the benefits of employing people on the autism spectrum”. The benefits of hiring people with autism include: high attention to detail, high work ethic and quality of work.

The focus have been on the IT sector, where many large companies have benefited from hiring people with autism. However, the competencies of people with autism is not limited to the IT sector. Like everybody else, they have different interests and skills. Specialisterne Australia has recently launched “the Autism and Agriculture employment scheme to develop career paths for those with autism in specialist animal care roles”. Specialisterne Foundation and Specialisterne are always looking into other industries for employment opportunities for people with autism.

Autistic employees can give companies an edge in innovative thinking

“The Autism Advantage” – New York Times Magazine

Gareth Cook, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a columnist for The Boston Globe, has had a seminal piece published in the New York Times Magazine chronicling the story of Specialisterne and the quest of Thorkil Sonne to create meaningful jobs for people with autism and similar challenges.

The article “The Autism Advantage” details the past development of Specialisterne, the stories of people working within the social enterprise, and the efforts to bring the model into the US. Read more about Specialisterne USA here.

A version of this article is available in the Sunday Magazine edition of December 2, 2012, with the headline: Autism Inc.nyt_m_logo-300x41

Listen also to the pod cast “Jobs For The Autistic” as featured in the program On Point from 90.9 WBUR-FM, Boston’s NPR news station, broadcasted on December 3rd, 2012 with Gareth Cook, Thorkil Sonne as well as Randy Lewis, senior vice president of distribution and logistics, Walgreens, and Leslie Long, director of Adult Services for Autism Speaks.