This post is by my good friend Jo Salmon, founder, with her daughter Holly, of Holly’s Ball and the Welsh Autism Heroes Awards. Jo works tirelessly to raise awareness of the conditions that Autism Spectrum Disorder covers, and Asperger’s Syndrome particularly
Here she tells us why employing someone with Asperger’s Syndrome is an extremely good idea
As a mum of a very awesome teenager with Asperger’s syndrome, (a high functioning form of Autism) I know only too well the amazing untapped brilliance that someone with this condition possesses.
Autism is a lifelong disability (If you knew my daughter and the many other children & young people I’ve met with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism – ‘differently abled’ would be a better term or even ‘differently gifted’).
A person with Autism will mostly have tricky times with socialising and communication BUT and it’s a very big BUT it’s their other extremely engaging attributes that make them among the most amazing and committed employees you would want working with you. My daughter has actually taught me that socialising has it’s place but it is often overrated. I tend to agree after entering the world of Autism.
I am often blown away by the completely unconventional, different perspective that my daughter shows me and her ‘out of the box’ thinking is beyond awesome. I would snap her up in a moment if I was an employer and this is why…
If as an employer you want and will most certainly need an employee who makes different look cool, who has a completely logical mind (Vulcan thinking my daughter calls it) yet an unbelievably refreshing thought process, who uses logic over emotion, who’s honesty will be unmatched, who doesn’t get dragged into office politics as they just don’t understand the need for it …(How amazing is that?!) If you need someone who doesn’t operate with a hidden agenda, who has an amazing ability to remember facts and figures, who possesses a deep knowledge and passion of a particular subject area then you need an Aspie – the affectionate name for someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. My daughter has the most excellent memory and this is extremely common with Aspies.
A lot of people with this extraordinarily amazing condition are a fantastic resource in the IT industry, Engineering & in Sales among many other professions. They have this incredible ability to be absorbed in a subject area that most of us only touch the surface of and tenacity that you won’t have witnessed before.
You would also have the best filing system ever on the planet too incidentally as their need for routine and organisation of items and a loving commitment to achieving this means that these awesome treasures of the human race are fantastically accurate. Their attention to detail is second to none. They are good at routine tasks and have an ability to concentrate for a very long time.
They posses good moral values that they have learnt over time and often like to follow rules and won’t wander across boundaries. They are also probably the best time keepers in the universe. You will also be employing a very loyal and reliable person. Every employer needs this!!
A person with Asperger’s Syndrome may at first find the world of employment a little challenging to settle into but as soon as they are comfortable in their environment and with encouragement and praise they will the best and most dedicated employee that you could possibly have.
My daughter has taught me to embrace difference and that difference at the end of the day is what sets us apart and this is true of anything. Being and thinking in a unique way is definitely refreshing right? I feel that schools can often manufacture a stereotypical person. The child with Aspergers will never fit into this stereotype and their ability to be different and think differently is entrenched from a very young age and is mastered by the time they are ready to enter the workplace.
People with Autism have had to endure many personal struggles if they received mainstream schooling. And having to think of different coping strategies trains the mind to be very resourceful.
If you want to move away from the constraints of convention, hire someone on the Autistic Spectrum. Convention will fly out of the window as soon as they walk through your door.
You will learn a lot from a person with Asperger’s Syndrome. If they are given the right working environment with like minded people they will help to make others think differently. This can’t be a bad thing in business especially in the todays climate.
Personally, I’d employ a person with Asperger’s Syndrome any day. To date my daughter has helped organise a huge annual charity event, has given numerous radio and tv interviews and has appeared on her own programme and has a short film made about her.
Her art is extremely ambitious and funky. Her flair for foreign languages astounds me. Her French in school leaves me standing and she teaches herself Japanese. Can you see where I’m coming from and she’s only 14 years old?
She is probably the most self driven/motivated person that I’ve ever met and I know I’m biased here but she is the most colourful shade on the palette.
Time to break convention and think Vulcan!