April is Autism Awareness Month, and Forbes contributor Robert J. Szczerba shares his insights on being the parent of a child with autism—including worrying about his son’s future.
“As the father of a wonderful 11-year-old boy with autism, every day is Autism Awareness Day for us,” he says in the article. “Much of my time is spent worrying about what career opportunities will be available to him once he reaches adulthood. Will he be able to transition his special abilities into meaningful employment, or will he face a constant struggle for acceptance?”
Szczerba goes on to give staggering statistics about the struggles adults with autism experience finding employment, even if they don’t have cognitive issues.
“About 50 percent of people with autism do not have a cognitive impairment and still 85 percent of people of working age with autism are unemployed,” he writes.
The bulk of the article offers ideas on how corporate hiring policies and cultural acceptance of neurodiverse adults can—and must—change. The unique skills of people with autism often make them detailed and dedicated employees. However, even neurotypical adults find hiring processes challenging to navigate. So how can a person with autism make progress through the hiring pipeline?
“This is where the smart use of information technology can help level the playing field,” Szczerba says.
His list of options includes interactive tools for nurturing special abilities, virtual personalized training, algorithms to match individuals with jobs—much like online dating—and non-threatening systems for interviewing candidates.
Our April Leader issue offers several features on identifying and treating people with autism: