People with autism are being left behind today, with only 16 per cent in full-time employment. This inspiring book addresses the lack of understanding of the wonderful contributions people across the autism spectrum can make to the workplace, drawing attention to this vast untapped human resource. Employers who create supportive workplaces can enhance their companies by making use of the talents of people with autism while also helping to produce a more inclusive and tolerant society, and people with autism can themselves benefit materially and emotionally from improved employment opportunities.
Packed with real-life case studies examining the day-to-day working lives of people across the autism spectrum in a wide variety of careers, this book provides constructive solutions for both employers seeking to improve their workplaces and for individuals with autism considering their employment options. It dispels popular myths about autism, such as that everyone is good at IT, and crucially tackles the potential job opportunities available across the spectrum, including for those who have no language at all. It also highlights the neglected area of gender differences in the workplace and the costs of autistic females’ ability to 'camouflage' their condition.
This book is a must-read for parents, employers and adults with autism, and for anyone interested in the present and future of people with autism in the workplace who will benefit from the positive message that employing autistic people is not an act of charity but one that makes sound economic sense.
Table of Contents
Foreword Dame Stephanie Shirley
Part 1: The Importance of Being Employed
1. The Paucity of Research
2. Transitioning from Education to Work
Part 2: Which Job – and Why?
3. Choosing a Job – An Overview (And a Demolition of the Stereotypes)
4. Unpaid Work – And Internships
6. Matching Skills to Jobs
7. Public-Service Jobs
8. Other Job Openings
Part 3: Applying for a Job
9. Before the Interview
10. To Disclose or Not to Disclose – The Pros and Cons
11. The Interview
12. Advice to Employers
Part 4: Holding Down a Job
13. Research Findings
14. The ‘Hidden Curriculum’ of the Workplace
15. Sensory Issues
16. Executive Dysfunction
17. The Importance (And Dangers) of Literal Language in the Workplace
18. Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace
19. What Employers Should Know – Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace
20. Examples of Good Practice by Employers
Part 5: Neurodiversity in the Workplace
21. Embracing Difference
22. Examples of Good Practice
Part 6: Gender in the Workplace – The Costs of Camouflage
23. What the Research Tells Us
24. The Implications for Employment
Part 7: Employment Schemes that Work in the UK
25. By Way of Introduction
26. Where to Go?
Adam Feinstein is an autism historian and researcher, and author of A History of Autism: Conversations with the Pioneers (Wiley-Blackwell 2010).
"There are an estimated 70 million autistic people on the planet, and among those adults, most are unemployed. Unemployment adds a sense of exclusion and failure, lower self-esteem, worse mental health and feeling not valued. Feinstein’s highly readable, well-researched, original book illustrates, through an inspiring array of diverse examples, how autism does not need to lead to unemployment. With a welcoming attitude on the part of employers, autistic adults can work well. When employers reduce barriers to employment and make reasonable adjustments, this can lead autistic adults to feel a sense of inclusion, autonomy, pride, and good mental health. For many, employment is the transformational silver bullet." - Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, UK
"Neurodiversity is all around us. But how are we accommodating to it in practice? Adam Feinstein provides a wealth of useful suggestions. His vivid case reports show just how enormously varied individuals with autism are, and how they fare at work. Readers will marvel at some truly inspiring role models. This book will be of immense value to employers as well as those seeking employment." - Uta Frith, University College London, UK
"This timely book on the important issue of employment in autism is a comprehensive account from theoretical justification to practical guidance for all stakeholders: autistic students, their educators and supporters, and future employers. Numerous real-life examples and case studies enliven the text and make this a fascinating and enlightening read." - Rita Jordan, University of Birmingham, UK