Employer that only employs neurodivergents?

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goldfish21
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19 Mar 2022, 12:42 pm

It is feasible. But it would be very challenging.. like wrangling kittens.

There are many companies, especially in Tech and Engineering, that hire many neurodivergent people - intentionally or by chance due to special interests and education. I've read some job ads from companies specifically seeking people on the spectrum for roles like software quality control.

When I worked building the waterfront offices for Facebook in Vancouver I (half)joked that they were hiring autistics only - they built the most soundproof offices ever constructed in the city.. they must know their aspie talent mostly all have hypersensitive hearing.

Thing is, sought after neurodivergent people often don't have difficulty securing employment.. although many could still use a hand with interviews and salary negotiations despite their IQ and qualifications. My guess is that the vast majority of neurodivergent people who Need this sort of placement agency service are more difficult to employ based on a number of factors.. severity of symptoms, lack of training/skills/education. Maybe.

It's also possible I'm wrong and there's quite the breadth of a spectrum of people on the spectrum that would benefit from such an agency providing neurodivergent people to companies, or all working together at one intended for them and there would be a big mix vs. only more difficult to employ people.

Anyways, re-read the OP before submitting this post.. I think there's a market for an agency that brokers neurodivergent people to other companies. Some for Tech and Engineering talent, others for repetitive tasks. I think that might be more successful than an all neurodivergent only company.. although, chances are that many small engineering firms are already all neurodivergent. So, depends on the size of the company And the degree of impairment people have -> it'd be possible, but challenging for sure. I know that we're blessed to have an NT CEO & sales people - would suck for ND's to all do good work but have an inability to plan properly due to executive dysfunction Or be able to sell their product or service due to social impairments. But, technology and the internet can be great equalizers.. software can keep track of time, clever marketing can sell anything online with the least of social skills.

All that said, if You have a solid idea for an all ND company and want to make a go of it, give it a shot. Worst that could happen is that it doesn't work out, you learn some things and either pivot and try again, Or learn that you're best suited to work with a mix of people that includes NT's.


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Fenn
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07 May 2022, 6:43 pm

auticon

https://auticon.co.uk

https://auticon.us/careers/


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techstepgenr8tion
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07 May 2022, 8:12 pm

Fenn wrote:

Does anyone have any experience with this employer?

I ask because, if they're anything like an Accenture for aspies, I really think I might want to talk to them.

The understanding I'm coming to is that - at least as far as I've experienced it - some employers get the hint that they can pick up oddballs with high talent for half the price because they're lucky to have a job at all, they're doing you a 'favor', and they can be worked 60 - 80 ours a week regularly for something that's not quite a living wage.

I mean, I might have a blend of traits that don't make me the textbook autie and sometimes I think my mind is on both sides of NT with the middle excluded but I am curious to know how they compensate, what skillsets they're looking for, what the distance work looks like, ie. is auticon a firm I'd want to work for?


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Fenn
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08 May 2022, 7:34 pm

^ I have only read the web page of the US organization. The model they use is that you work for Auticon, then the contract you out, but they also provide project managers and help the client to understand the needs of the autistic consultant - also the project managers who work for Auticon help to buffer if there are any issues.

This interests me for a number of reasons. One of my problems as a computer professional is EF (Executive Functions). I do well with a good project manager on the team. Companies trying to save money fire all the project managers and move the functions either to the individual software engineers or the tech manager. I don’t do well when this happens.
I have lost a few jobs this way.


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techstepgenr8tion
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08 May 2022, 7:40 pm

Fenn wrote:
^ I have only read the web page of the US organization. The model they use is that you work for Auticon, then the contract you out, but they also provide project managers and help the client to understand the needs of the autistic consultant - also the project managers who work for Auticon help to buffer if there are any issues.

This interests me for a number of reasons. One of my problems as a computer professional is EF (Executive Functions). I do well with a good project manager on the team. Companies trying to save money fire all the project managers and move the functions either to the individual software engineers or the tech manager. I don’t do well when this happens.
I have lost a few jobs this way.

I have to work directly with clients, often enough mom-and-pop businesses, and it seems often enough that we not only have to deal with the programming side but the politics and even scalping attempts (ie. when they want to set us up to look incompetent and be able to turn the screws to us based on that perception). The actual difficulty of the job is maybe 25-30% programming, 40% politics, and the rest of it's the customer changing their mind.


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08 May 2022, 9:07 pm

That sounds like (disability discrimination)


It is illegal to discriminate for or against certain demographics

When you only hire autistics, you are discriminating against neurotypicals



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09 May 2022, 2:11 am

I own and run a successful software company. I only hire on the basis of self motivation, high working standards and accountability.
My employees work from home, in office or both and take holidays when they want. some are NT but the majority are ND.

They are all highly motivated and get the job done because of a sense of pride in what we are doing. As an Aspie boss I try to be as flexible as possible but at the end of the day the job needs to get done. My employees understand this because we are 100% transparent so they see what the results of hard work is doing. They also get a bonus when we are exceedingly profitable.

My motto is that everyone knows what is best for their own work life balance and I don't get taken advantage of very often. Those that try are out, mostly because the rest of my employees won't tolerate any forms of abuse or manipulating.

We have a very flat management structure, so much so that we don't have managers and I am only the boss in that I provide vision and achievement goals on a broad scale but I also encourage and even demand that everyone provides all of the input that a modern, dynamic and agile company needs to be able to survive.

This works :D but it is not because we only hire ND's, that wouldn't be morally acceptable. There are far more successful ways to run a company than to create a dogma which in the end will only serve to limit your possibilities.

Empowerment is, in my opinion, key to creating a healthy and successful workplace environment and ultimately a successful company.


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12 May 2022, 8:21 pm

There are some places that do actually employ neurodivergents, but they usually take on people with downs syndrome.

There was a new supermarket opening in my local town one time, and they were advertising that they were disability friendly. So I went for a job there (with my job coach), but I didn't get a job. But then when I went into the supermarket nearly all the workers in there had downs syndrome and learning difficulties that were obvious. That's good that people like that were given a chance in employment, but people with autism don't seem to be given a chance at all.

And these people weren't exactly the social intellectuals many think people with downs syndrome are. Maybe some of them had autism as well as downs. One of them on the till we went to had severe speech impairments, which must impair their social skills in some way, surely.

I suppose they just see an applicant with autism but not downs or intellectual disabilities, and immediately think "meltdowns, unable to talk to customers, unable to recognise body language, too much stimming, can't multitask". Or maybe employers are just scared of us because they think we're all psychopaths filled with murderous rage, thanks to Adam Lanza and many other autistic psychos that have killed people. :roll: Ever seen a person with downs syndrome murder people? No. No stigma there. Except "retarded", but I rather be called "retarded" than "psycho". I hate psychos.


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Fenn
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13 May 2022, 8:40 am

^ thanks, Joe90. Can you share more about your Job Coach? How did you find him or her? What of kind of coaching did you find helpful?


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13 May 2022, 8:53 am

Fenn wrote:
^ thanks, Joe90. Can you share more about your Job Coach? How did you find him or her? What of kind of coaching did you find helpful?


My job coach was from a scheme called Linked Employment, where they help adults with special needs get into employment. It was years ago so I don't even know if it still exists.

My job coach came to my house to help me fill out applications and attend interviews with me. It wasn't that I was unable, it was just anxiety that held me back. I found looking for work stressful because I didn't really know what I wanted to do as a career.
But having a job coach meant Asperger's had to be mentioned, which I think was jeopardizing me from being hired by employers. The only way I actually got into employment was through a family friend who got me in where she worked.
Then when I met my boyfriend he got me into the place I work now, where I'm happy and settled. But I cut off all contact from Linked Employment or Employability or whatever it's called now, because I didn't want anybody at this place to know I have Asperger's. And it's fantastic being somewhere where nobody knows I'm on the spectrum.


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Polynechramorph
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14 May 2022, 2:38 am

Joe90 wrote:
I didn't want anybody at this place to know I have Asperger's. And it's fantastic being somewhere where nobody knows I'm on the spectrum.


I get that but I think it would be easier, maybe even more rewarding to be in a work environment that was accepting and supportive of ND.
Nobody working for me has to mask or feel the pressures of having to function like an NT. I know my employees get this and are grateful for it. If someone is feeling stressed they can go home, take a break or choose to do something different for the time being.

This does not affect productivity in fact I think it makes most people even more productive while at the same time being more socially responsible.

People who are well balanced and have the constant opportunity to take care of their mental balance are just better employees and happier in general, in my experience.


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14 May 2022, 4:34 am

In my very small business, I hire and manage much like Polynechramorph. We don’t make much money because it is a Medicaid funded service. But everyone gets to work individually on their own, set their own hours and schedule. Much of the work can be done from anywhere. Anyone who can do the work is welcome on my team.

I suspect some ND but don’t know and it is not important.

Related, in our work, we can help people find job coaches to assist in locating jobs, training and retention. In my state, though, these services are geared more towards people with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc. rather than autism. Large chain grocery stores are great employers of people with Down Syndrome.

It would be good to see an agency specializing in job placement for autistics, from high tech to repetitive tasks. An enterprising person could probably get government funding or crowd funding to start same.

The best job coach I ever knew made regular rounds of businesses, essentially selling her skills and talents at finding ND applicants who could do the job. She established a network of businesses willing to hire people with disabilities and became known for her successes. She has, unfortunately, retired.


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15 May 2022, 1:27 pm

Polynechramorph wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
I didn't want anybody at this place to know I have Asperger's. And it's fantastic being somewhere where nobody knows I'm on the spectrum.


I get that but I think it would be easier, maybe even more rewarding to be in a work environment that was accepting and supportive of ND.
Nobody working for me has to mask or feel the pressures of having to function like an NT. I know my employees get this and are grateful for it. If someone is feeling stressed they can go home, take a break or choose to do something different for the time being.

This does not affect productivity in fact I think it makes most people even more productive while at the same time being more socially responsible.

People who are well balanced and have the constant opportunity to take care of their mental balance are just better employees and happier in general, in my experience.


As long as I'm not in a job where I have to deal with the public, nobody at work needs to know I have ASD because it will just bring my social standing down, like people might treat me differently.
It'll be like "don't joke too much around Joe90, she might take it literally", or "put Joe90 on the most boring, repetitive task there is because she'll like that", or "don't use any noisy machinery when Joe90's near, it might frighten her and she could have a meltdown". Um, no, I'm not that sort of Aspie. At all. I don't like rigid, repetitive tasks. I can tolerate any sort of noise at work (except loud bells, I just have a fear of those but they're only mostly used frequently in schools). If a noise is too loud for me I don't start rocking in the corner with my hands over my ears. I'll just tolerate it like everyone else does. And I can communicate with my co-workers, I have no trouble there. So why do they need to know I have this autism thingie that would just cramp my style? I want to be cool and popular at work, not perceived as an autistic nerd.


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Polynechramorph
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16 May 2022, 3:23 am

All the more power to you!

In my experience this would cost me a lot of energy and drain my resources quickly. If you can do that and not feel completely drained at the end of your shift then you are truly remarkable.

I often encounter a lot of Aspies reporting that masking is very tiring and drains a lot of energy that could otherwise be put to good use.

If you feel that your colleagues would be that judgemental about your Aspergers then I fully understand your position. I wonder if maybe you are jumping to conclusions.

I too have very little severe symptoms and can appear "normal" with relative ease, It does however cost me a great deal of energy, so I try not to focus too much on how I appear and try to stay just a little bit more authentic and save some of my precious energy for things that are more important to me.

You say that the social aspect of your job is very important to you and I get that. It can be very rewarding to "fit in" and be wholly accepted. Sometimes this is important to me and other times not so. If I'm honest the wish for social acceptance has decreased steadily over the years. I'm not cynical (yet :) ) I just don't value it as much as I used to.


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