People with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or high functioning autism, think and perform in a way that is different than their Neuro-Typical (NT), those without autism, counterparts. Therefore, when searching for work, or even if they are currently employed, it stands to reason that they would excel in some areas and find other areas extremely difficult. Many people with Asperger’s Syndrome are visual thinkers. Coupled together with this type of thinking, their extreme attention to detail, and ability to focus, they can become experts in their fields of interest making them ideally suited for certain types of jobs. The following is a list of a few jobs that people with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome tend to excel in, and can help people with AS navigate career/job choices. Finding fulfilling work that is ideally suited to the autistic person is essential to their future success.
1. Computer / IT Tech
Some people with AS are what is called “visual thinkers.” A visual thinker will listen to conversations, or picture a problem, and they automatically convert the words in their heads to images, which to help them better understand the problem. A visual thinker would be adept at visualizing computers and their networks allowing them to trace the problem in their minds very quickly.
2. Mechanic, Plumber and Tradesmen
A visual thinker can see the entire car or buildings working schematics in their head allowing them to deduce where a problem in the engine or plumbing could possibly be. They could theoretically trace plumbing lines, electrical conduits, or wiring grids in their minds with accuracy and track down problems to repair. It is important to note, however, that some people with AS may have dexterity issues which may complicate matters when handling tools.
3. Web Page Designing
Visual thinking is helpful when designing and laying out a web page’s schematics. The person with Asperger’s tends to be detail-oriented, and possess a high work-ethic. Visual thinking, attention to detail, and dedication often produces high-quality products. This particular field has the added bonus of being able to work independently as a contractor or freelancer. It is solitary work, which minimizes the need to interact with people. Social interactions are not a strong point for people with AS.
Not all people with AS are visual thinkers, but many times have extraordinary strengths in different areas. They may struggle with short-term memory issues, but often excel in long term memory areas. These people are usually good with numbers, facts, and pattern recognition. This ability makes working in the accounting field ideal. The familiarity of prescribed mathematical formulas, rules governing taxes, etc., help to create a comfort zone where a person with AS can thrive in. Much of the work can be done in with limited social interaction, reducing stress and anxiety.
5. Copy Editor
Correcting manuscripts, articles, and books has very clear and identifiable goals and structure. People with AS have the ability to thrive in this field, due to their ability to hyper-focus on the subject matter and utilize the rules which govern language and grammar, which they have learned/memorized. This is another area that can be done on a freelance basis, without having to keep a schedule or work in an office setting.
6. Inventory Control Specialists / Clerks
Autistic individuals tend to have strong long-term memory skills, and can recall large amounts of information. This ability is useful when keeping accurate records and accounts of inventory. Individuals with a strong need for solitary, detailed, and repetitive work would find this occupation a comfortable fit.
Taking the time to consider options and career paths can have favorable results for anyone. For those with Asperger’s Syndrome, some extra planning and research may be in order. For employers who have someone with Asperger’s working for them, understanding that person’s unique challenges and strengths are paramount. Autistic individuals struggle in many areas, but they have often unique and desirable strengths and abilities to offer an employer.