Jobs For The Autistic

Rebroadcast: originally broadcast December 3, 2012.

They’re growing up.  They need work.  A life.  Maybe work the rest of us might fail at.

Specialisterne Consultants at work. (Specialisterne)

Specialisterne Consultants at work. (Specialisterne)

More and more Americans are being diagnosed with autism. One in 88 American children is the latest figure.  It’s been called a tsunami.

They will grow up and they will have lives to lead. But what kind of lives? And what about work?

A new push is on to recognize and apply the special talents, special character, of people with autism in the workplace. To structure jobs that autistic minds and temperaments may be especially good at. To find the workplace upside in autism.

This hour, On Point: the autism advantage, at work.

-Tom Ashbrook


Gareth Cook, a columnist for the Boston Globe, his article in the Sunday New York Times is The Autism Advantage.

Thorkil Sonne, CEO and Founder of Specialisterne, which employs 35 people with autism as consultants to 19 companies in Denmark.

Randy Lewis, senior vice president of distribution and logistics, Walgreens.

Leslie Long, director of Adult Services for Autism Speaks.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “When Thorkil Sonne and his wife, Annette, learned that their 3-year-old son, Lars, had autism, they did what any parent who has faith in reason and research would do: They started reading. At first they were relieved that so much was written on the topic. “Then came sadness,” Annette says. Lars would have difficulty navigating the social world, they learned, and might never be completely independent. The bleak accounts of autistic adults who had to rely on their parents made them fear the future.”

NBC News “Nationwide, only 35 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities had full- or part-time jobs in 2004, according to a survey by the National Organization on Disability. People without disabilities had an employment rate of 78 percent; in Anderson County, it is closer to 90 percent, according to county economic development figures.”

Washington Post “‘Next year, I turn 18 and I am in your [district],’ Fleischmann said to the senior senator during an October gathering hosted by the Nantucket Project, ‘How do I, someone with autism, pick the candidate that is right for me when a lot of the candidates don’t keep their word?'”

Nantucket Project Panel discussion on autism, moderated by Tom.

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