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Dial1194
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03 Jul 2019, 8:35 pm

Hmm. What would you call a company which specifically hired autistic people because of their particular strengths - not for psuedo-jobs or to fill quotas or get some PR-friendly articles out of it, but because there were genuine specialist jobs which AS people were, bluntly, more profitable at?

If such a company could simply point to raw numbers and say "Well of course we're going to tweak the physical workplace and the whole working experience to retain these people because Finance says it's worth it to do so," would that be merely autistic-friendly, or would a better description be something a little more aggressive like pro-autistic or autistic-focused?



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04 Jul 2019, 2:56 pm

It depends on the autistic individual. I clean buses at a bus depot, and it's basically self-explanatory really, and very laid-back with little to no pressure, and you basically work alone but can choose to work with another cleaner if you wish. That sounds good for most Aspies, right? But some Aspies might dislike the noise of the buses and the smells of the fumes, so to those with sensory problems this environment might be too noisy for them to cope. It doesn't affect me too much. I'm just glad to be somewhere where I'm not under too much pressure or having to deal with the public.


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01 Aug 2019, 8:05 am

Okay so when I was completing my graduate thesis, one of my committee members insisted that I find out if there were autism only, or autism-mostly workplaces in existence. I knew there were autism-heavy workplaces, because I have worked in applications development. But we didn’t use the word autism in applications development. Not when I was in it anyway.

Anyway, I talked to some of those people involved in the Specialisterne project. Holy sh** that was hard to find out about. It looks like Mona found some great autism-focused workplaces that exist NOW, but a few years ago Specialisterne was about it. It wasn’t tightly run and fell apart. You can’t hold a company together on autism, any more than you can hold it together on blonde hair.

There seems to be clear anecdotal evidence (as in, we all know it to be true) that autistic people tend to do really well in particular environments and positions. They have to be able to control their environments and social exposure, and be given options for how they complete tasks. Interestingly, that same model would probably increase production for other workers as well. The problem is that (the last I checked) no one is doing studies to statistically show that this is true. Without studies, no companies will adopt hiring and production models more accommodating to autistic people.

If I somehow got to complete my PhD, it would be in production models for autistic adults versus non autistic adults. But I don’t see that happening.

These businesses that are accommodating FOR autistic people, like even sensory break movie nights and so forth, are a great idea. It’s inclusive for other types of people, say, shy, allergic, ADHD or other non-neurotypicals, so the business gets a wider audience. And even neurotypical people get an opportunity to see the benefit of doing things in an autism friendly way when attending such a place or event. I’m a big fan of these things and love to see them catching on.



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01 Aug 2019, 3:22 pm

SocOfAutism wrote:
Okay so when I was completing my graduate thesis, one of my committee members insisted that I find out if there were autism only, or autism-mostly workplaces in existence. I knew there were autism-heavy workplaces, because I have worked in applications development. But we didn’t use the word autism in applications development. Not when I was in it anyway.

Unfortunately, working conditions for computer programmers have become less and less autistic-friendly over the past couple of decades:

1) There has been a trend towards "open offices" -- large numbers of people sitting around cafeteria-like tables in one big room, rather than smaller offices with individual cubicles.

2) More and more social interaction is required of programmers these days, thanks in part to the rise of the "Agile" methodology.

3) Many corporations are requiring more and more social interaction among their employees in general, in an attempt to foster team-based camaraderie, in ways that may work fine for many NT's but not for autistic people.

Meanwhile, the market for computer programmers has grown enough that more and more NTs have gotten drawn into the field.

SocOfAutism wrote:
Anyway, I talked to some of those people involved in the Specialisterne project. Holy sh** that was hard to find out about. It looks like Mona found some great autism-focused workplaces that exist NOW, but a few years ago Specialisterne was about it.

Actually some of the Wrong Planet threads I linked on the previous page of this thread, about specific autistic-friendly businesses, are several years old. But, admittedly, no one has yet put together a comprehensive listing of such businesses, so they are hard to find.

SocOfAutism wrote:
It wasn’t tightly run and fell apart. You can’t hold a company together on autism, any more than you can hold it together on blonde hair.

Agreed. A software company needs to have some specialty and be targeted to meet specific needs of potential customers.

SocOfAutism wrote:
There seems to be clear anecdotal evidence (as in, we all know it to be true) that autistic people tend to do really well in particular environments and positions. They have to be able to control their environments and social exposure, and be given options for how they complete tasks. Interestingly, that same model would probably increase production for other workers as well. The problem is that (the last I checked) no one is doing studies to statistically show that this is true. Without studies, no companies will adopt hiring and production models more accommodating to autistic people.

If I somehow got to complete my PhD, it would be in production models for autistic adults versus non autistic adults. But I don’t see that happening.

Here in New York, at the spring 2018 conference of the Asperger's and High Functioning Autism Association (which has since merged with the Asperger/Autism Network and changed its name to AANE-NY), there was a professor talking about best practices in accommodating autistic employees. I don't remember his name, but there might be a way to dig it up. Would this info be at all useful to you personally at the present time?

SocOfAutism wrote:
These businesses that are accommodating FOR autistic people, like even sensory break movie nights and so forth, are a great idea. It’s inclusive for other types of people, say, shy, allergic, ADHD or other non-neurotypicals, so the business gets a wider audience. And even neurotypical people get an opportunity to see the benefit of doing things in an autism friendly way when attending such a place or event. I’m a big fan of these things and love to see them catching on.

Agreed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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Dial1194
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02 Aug 2019, 12:22 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Meanwhile, the market for computer programmers has grown enough that more and more NTs have gotten drawn into the field.


True. And even with the recent rise of remote working in IT, particularly among programmers, there's been a corresponding (if lagging) trend towards making those remote workers be constantly connected with video conferencing, voice chat, and so on. Presumably so that NT managers can use their existing management-by-looking-at-faces techniques. Fortunately, places which are focused more on getting work done than the digital equivalent of bums-on-seats tend to let their programmers (and some systems admins) just knuckle down and work without constant interruptions.



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02 Aug 2019, 12:06 pm

Yes, I worked in an Agile software development company for a few years in low management, as a Team Lead. When I first went to work there we had full cubes, but by the time I was leaving they were transitioning to low walled cubes in little open sections, so your back would be to several different people wide open. I have a movement disorder, so this was a big problem for me. And of course it was a problem for the autistic people, who handled huge workloads. The meetings were big time wasters.

My husband works in IT and I have heard that there are a lot of “face men” as they used to be called coming to these subject matter expert positions. That’s too bad.

When I was still working, HR was doing these mandatory personality tests and using those to make production teams. The idea was that there would be a couple quiet workers, a caring people person, and a loudmouth bossy person in each group. I think it worked pretty well, but obviously I don’t know how it turned out long term, as I’m no longer there. I do know that when the testing was put into place, I changed my own answers so they would not identify me as a loudmouth because I didn’t want to threaten my boss. When I came up for a promotion I asked to retake it and answered honestly. I got the promotion and then they asked me to participate with HR in development of the program. That’s what lies get you in a white collar company.

Anyway, yeah I’m sorry I would have been interested in the contact but I am not working on anything now. Thank you anyway!



Dial1194
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03 Aug 2019, 6:42 am

SocOfAutism wrote:
The meetings were big time wasters.


So much this. One job I had as a bottom-rung IT guy at a megacorp had a mandatory average of about thirteen meetings a week for me. That wasn't counting unscheduled meetings. There was absolutely *nothing* said at any of the meetings which couldn't have been put in an email, and precious few meetings where there was ever anything of any value said at all.

And I was bottom-rung. I saw low-level managers whose calendars were about 200%+ meetings, in that they not only had meetings scheduled for every moment of every day, but often had multiple meetings for every moment, and would have to decide which of those they would attend on a given week and which they would blow off.

I was constantly flabbergasted that anything managed to get done ever in that place.



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03 Aug 2019, 10:24 pm

In the separate thread This May Help People Looking for Work, Kitty4670 posted a link to Top Autism Jobs: Choosing the Best Careers for People With Autism, on the website of Autism Parenting Magazine.


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04 Aug 2019, 2:30 pm

In the separate thread People with autism are hot hires for artificial intelligence, blackomen posted a link to People with autism are hot hires for artificial intelligence jobs by John Murawski, Business Standard (but credited to the Wall Stree Journal), August 04, 2019.


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17 Aug 2019, 1:48 am

I've expressed some thoughts about special ed teachers, and other carers for autistic children, here in the thread Just subbed in an autism class today.

Elsewhere I've expressed a desire that we, as a community, could build organizations for autistic people who work in or desire to work in various kinds of professions/occupations/jobs. I think the easiest of these to organize will probably include (1) a group of special ed teachers and other carers for autistic children and (2) a group of lawyers and people in other law-related professions/occupations. These will be among the easiest to organize because teachers and lawyers both, by the very nature of their professions, need to have some leadership ability.


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17 Aug 2019, 5:33 am

t seems to me that some (though by no means all, of course) autistic people would be much better able to empathize with autistic children than any NT possibly could. And it seems to me that autistic teachers/aides/etc. should be recruited specifically for that ability, insofar as they have it. (Of course, an autistic teacher would also need to be knowledgeable about the many varieties of autism, and be familiar with the life experiences of many different autistic people, to avoid overgeneralizing from one's own experience.) On the other hand, there are other aspects of running a classroom that an NT is more likely to be able to handle better.

What do you think?



I think this is a no-brainer. However is there such a pool of talent in existence?

Here in Australia our research institutes dealing with autism research are run by people who are NT and who have NT children. I have met all of them and they are arrogant and self-absorbed - all they want from us parents are for our children to sign up for their research trials.

There is a industry of training courses for aides etc but I have never come across an aide or teacher with autism? ABA therapists are almost exclusively psychology students picking up skills to put on their resume or credit for entry to a postgraduate course.



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21 Aug 2019, 1:13 am

Roses for Autism teaches workplace oriented social skills. If you want their job training you can't eat lunch by yourself.



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22 Aug 2019, 2:41 am

cyberdad wrote:
I think this is a no-brainer. However is there such a pool of talent in existence?

At least the beginnings of such a pool, yes. Occasionally an autistic special ed teacher will post here on Wrong Planet, and I recently met one at a local in-person support group.

cyberdad wrote:
Here in Australia our research institutes dealing with autism research are run by people who are NT and who have NT children. I have met all of them and they are arrogant and self-absorbed - all they want from us parents are for our children to sign up for their research trials.

This is one of the reasons why both autistic people and parents/family need to create organizations that are independent of the professional establishment, to pressure the research establishment into dialog. Otherwise the latter is cutting itself off from one of its best sources of potential insights.

cyberdad wrote:
There is a industry of training courses for aides etc but I have never come across an aide or teacher with autism? ABA therapists are almost exclusively psychology students picking up skills to put on their resume or credit for entry to a postgraduate course.

There needs to be an organization of autistic psychology students, then.


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16 Sep 2019, 4:47 pm

I just now posted the following in a separate thread: Microsoft autism hiring (mainly but not just software engrs).


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20 Sep 2019, 6:03 pm

Another relevant thread: Companies created By Aspies for Aspies.


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