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Asp-Z
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17 Feb 2010, 12:39 pm

According to the National Autistic Society site, only 12% of people with AS and HFA are in full-time employment. When I read that, I was honestly shocked. I mean, if you were including LFA in that I might understand, but even it's low... But for only 12% of Aspies and HFAies to be in full-time employment is really shocking.

But, why? Why is this? Is it because we don't have the social skills to deal with offices?Are we just really bad at interviews? Do we really have that much trouble being independant?



League_Girl
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17 Feb 2010, 12:46 pm

Discrimination, judgmental people.

Other reasons are due to issues we have such as sensory issues, poor social skills, and anxiety. I had to get through my road block of inflexibility to move forward. You can't keep a job with that issue because bosses can fire you for that. They would not want workers who have meltdowns everytime something is too much or they are asked to do something unexpectedly or they get interrupted what they are doing, etc. I had to learn to deal with it because I knew it was part of life and if I want to work, I have to get over it. But how many bosses are going to be patient about all this? At least mine was. My guess is aspies aren't given the time to work on these issues so they are fired or they quit before they are fired.



DavidK
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17 Feb 2010, 12:53 pm

Maybe we cope better with part-time than full-time employment.


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BetsyRath
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17 Feb 2010, 1:04 pm

This is an unreliable statistic. I'm not saying unemployment in the AS community isn't a problem - I'm sure it is. But it is impossible to quantify all of the people who are successful in careers and undiagnosed. I worked at a large software company and many of the people there were AS and undiagnosed. My husband himself was undiagnosed until this year (he's 47) and worked in a couple different careers that were very successful and lucrative for him. In fact, he wouldn't be part of this statistic now even diagnosed because he is a self employed IT solution provider - he takes contracts as he wants to.


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petitesouris
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17 Feb 2010, 1:05 pm

i was wondering that myself actually. i do not have to worry about that quite yet since i still have another year of college, yet it really shocks me how individuals with normal intelligence could have such a hard time finding or keeping jobs. everytime i go to a place like walmart, i see a lot of severely disabled people who could do menial work, so why hire them and not hire us? does everyone think we are incapable of doing even the most unskilled, repetitive work? when i applied for college i had a really hard time getting accepted into places despite having adequate grades and sat scores. interviews were especially difficult. i was not capable of hiding my anxiety during the interview and thus failed every interview i have ever had. a combination of lacking social skills and secondary psychiatric issues is not the road to success usually.



Willard
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17 Feb 2010, 1:24 pm

BetsyRath wrote:
This is an unreliable statistic. I'm not saying unemployment in the AS community isn't a problem - I'm sure it is. But it is impossible to quantify all of the people who are successful in careers and undiagnosed. My husband himself was undiagnosed until this year (he's 47) and worked in a couple different careers that were very successful and lucrative for him.


Same here, I wasn't diagnosed until after my first career finally petered out after 35 years (although it was never 'lucrative'). I'd be working right now except for having been discriminated against (because of my autism) in a licensing program, and being unable to find a single bureaucrat or advocate willing to get off their thumbs and do something about it.

I will say however, even when I followed a specific career path, I was routinely fired every 15 months on average, thus spent half my adult life on unemployment. While I worked, I was accepted by my peers and won awards for my employers, but...I could not always function in the same manner and by the same rigid sets of rules as the employees around me. At the time, I had no explanation for this, except that I was an independent creative freethinker (or an antisocial oddball loser, depending on who you asked), and bosses absolutely cannot abide someone who does not 'fly in formation with the flock'. Didn't matter that I was the most innovative and productive employee they had, if I couldn't behave like everyone else.

So I can easily believe that unemployment rates among those with high functioning ASDs are very high. When you can only remain focused on something for eight hours a day if it's connected directly to one of your few obsessive special interests, and your personal behaviors are off-kilter from the norm, finding full time employment that's suitable is a challenge, but maintaining it for very long is damned near impossible.



Cyanide
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17 Feb 2010, 1:42 pm

League_Girl wrote:
Discrimination, judgmental people.



waltur
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17 Feb 2010, 3:06 pm

problems with executive function.



lotuspuppy
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17 Feb 2010, 3:09 pm

Does the figure include only those of working age? If not, then the employment rate is probably much higher.



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17 Feb 2010, 3:19 pm

You also have to consider the fact that the majority of adults diagnosed with AS are either quite young (under 25, diagnosed as children/teens) or they are among the more "noticeable" cases of AS.

It's quite possible that many young adults with AS are either in College/University or they are working in part-time jobs due to a lack of work experience. This would not show them as being employed full-time in this statistic.



DylanMcKay
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17 Feb 2010, 4:39 pm

First off, I am unemployed, so I guess I'm in the other 88% haha.

I hope this won't come off the wrong way but I"ll throw it out there since we're just brainstorming..... if you have been formally diagnosed with AS/HFA, then this means you have some kind of documentation to prove that you are eligible for disability pay, right? So maybe you don't have to work in order to support yourself then since you are on disability....now that's not to say that people shouldn't be on disability, but once you are then you've got another manner to provide for yourself then.

Of course, you could counter that these people would not be included in this study since the formal economics definition of "unemployed" states that you have to be actively looking for work, but then again, many people think that "unemployed" simply means that you do not have a job. Who knows how the people who did this study chose to define "unemployed"...



Polgara
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17 Feb 2010, 4:46 pm

I think there are a lot of people out there working and not counted. Self and many family members included. There's a better chance of success in occupations that allow/expect a certain amount of eccentricity or those in which hiring is based on exam scores or qualifications and not on interviewing skills, and reward or promote based on concrete production (including the dreaded "publish or perish") rather than airy social-cloud abstractions or people skills. I'm somewhere in-between; hired based on test score, promoted based on seniority, and when I got to a position that required people skills, I have a large repertoire of prepackaged patter and repartee memorized and easily accessible. Still have my moments, though. :P

I suspect there are a lot of other people in similar positions. I have been working for the same outfit for a quarter of a century, and expect to retire out in another decade or so. If you can keep your "inappropriateness" down to an occasional lapse, it can be doable. So I think the data are skewed because the sample is not random.



guestrider999
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17 Feb 2010, 5:34 pm

I agree with the posts above regarding undiagnosed AS folk. I have at least 10 family members who I believe are undiagnosed and all have held down jobs since leaving school. I don't think any of them are aware they are ASD, and although I often hear common stories from each of them about bullying and isolation, they still manage to adapt to the environment and hold their ground. Some of them, including myself, left the UK to work abroad. I find the cultural and language differences 'help' my day-to-day functioning, as my colleagues often just write off my constant faux pas as eccentricity.

I often wonder about the real number of ASD people in the world; I guess many people here are the same, but I know many people that are obviously AS and undiagnosed. Of course, the question about where the spectrum begins, and whether you're on it or not, is very subjective.

So I think 12% employment is understating the true figure, but it could well be correct for those with a diagnosis.

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Asp-Z
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17 Feb 2010, 5:38 pm

I've seen a few posts about needing more info on the study, so here's the page I got the info from, here's what it says:

Quote:
It is estimated that there are about 332,600 people of working age in the UK with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and of this number an estimated 259,506 are thought to be of average or above average intelligence. NAS research by Barnard et al (2001) has shown only 6% of all people with an ASD have full-time paid employment, and only 12% of those with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome had full-time jobs.1


The small print says that the source of that statistic is "Barnard J. et al (2001). Ignored or ineligible?: the reality for adults with autism spectrum disorders. London: The National Autistic Society."

I tried Googling that source but didn't manage to find anything of more use.



guestrider999
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17 Feb 2010, 5:52 pm

Hey Asp-Z,

I find this really interesting, especially the small print on 'Ignored or ineligible?'. You could gather some more up-to-date info by adding a poll on the number of WPers in full-time employment, though this may already be on here somewhere (sorry, I'm hopeless with the search function! :D )

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