HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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Suitable Careers for Adults with Aspergers

"Are there some careers that people with Aspergers Syndrome do well in compared to others? My son (high functioning) will graduate from high school in a few weeks, and I am feeling a bit concerned about his future. His one and only interest currently is computers."

Because adults with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) have normal to high intelligence, they often go into some very interesting and lucrative careers when they get older. In many cases, the field they enter is related to one or more of those things they were fixated on as a child. For example, if an Aspergers child has a fixation on the weather, he or she can think about a career in meteorology.

Other careers include working in the music industry. Aspergers individuals often develop striking musical abilities and can then work in this field as a later career. 
 
Careers involving mathematics or science are also common in Aspergers. This can include becoming an accountant, working in economics or scientific research, working as a university professor or other mathematical or scientific area. Often, the interest in math and science are natural gifts for these children, and the transition from avocation to vocation is usually a seamless one.

Careers in writing are not uncommon for Aspergers individuals. Writing is a solitary task, and often times, the Aspergers individual can learn to use words on a page to create books, articles and other material that overcomes their natural need to think in pictures.

Usually, the process of exploring careers needs to be done sooner for Aspies than with other individuals. Talking with guidance and career counselors is a good idea in order to explore possible options. Tours of different careers or shadowing a scientist or mathematician may help the Aspergers adolescent to get an idea of which type of career would be the best for him/her.

Older Aspergers teens should be doing plenty of reading about careers and jobs specific to those with Aspergers. Two books, Aspergers Syndrome Employment Workbook: An Employment Workbook for Adults with Aspergers Syndrome (paperback) and Employment for Individuals with Aspergers Syndrome and Non-Verbal Learning Disability by Yvona Fast are available in some bookstores or at www.amazon.com. There are plenty of ideas as to how to begin searching for an appropriate career in these publications.

There is nothing to limit a young person to just the areas listed above. Many Aspies have found success in other areas of employment. Pay attention to your child’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the interests he/she exhibits.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... As Jon Willis said. His was computers as well and he has done that and managed to build onto it. Go with the flow while building up experience and courage to step out a little bit more. Aspies can do and will achieve. Mary Camp-Autism. Have you read this ?
•    Anonymous said... Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg are a part if an initiative to get high schools to start teaching code, which is something that a lot of aspergers kids really understand! Computers are a great career track for anyone!
•    Anonymous said... Contact the school. Does he have an IEP? If so, they can refer to voc rehab for transitional services. My daughter has ASD. She is very bright but could not cope in some classrooms & has IEP even with A's & B's. Every state has a Voc Rehab. They will be a job coach for him so he can test different jobs or they will offer college support. Both in effort to prepare him for the work force. Its a fed gvt program funnelled down to the states. Ultimately its an effort to rehab folks with disabilities so they can earn a living and not spend life on ssi/ssd
•    Anonymous said... Have you watched the documentary on John Robinson,?
•    Anonymous said... I am quite sure that there are specialists in this area who assess those with ASD to assist in working out their strengths for this purpose!
•    Anonymous said... I know that is covered in the adult assessment here in Australia. Not sure about other places though. I wish you and your son all the best!!
•    Anonymous said... It has long been suggested that Bill Gates is an aspie. Computers will be enough if he decides to go that route.
•    Anonymous said... I've found that "growing up" is subjective, and often times, over rated. I don't think of it as moving out of my comfort zone, rather extending it into other areas.
•    Anonymous said... Many tech careers, engineering, art for some, a lot of aspie symptoms improve or refine with age and the aspie gifts start-a-shinin'
•    Anonymous said... My husband has Aspergers and he works in IT. He doesn't talk on the phone but in these times of smart phones he can be contacted pretty much anytime anywhere by email. It took him a long time to find a workplace in which he felt comfortable but I think that's the case for many people Aspergers or not!
•    Anonymous said... My husband has finally discovered Library Studies: cataloguing and little human contact!
•    Anonymous said... My son's therapist told me that most kids do better after high school.because they can focus on their interest, not a bunch of stuff they could careless about. Computers arent going away, so I would see about grants and scholarships to an ITT or other tech school for certifications and job position placement.
•    Anonymous said... Nothing wrong with a Career in computing, can command big bucks if you are lucky.
•    Anonymous said... Ps IT is often great for folks with ASD. Almost a perfect fit. Check out on youtube the documentary i watched on discovery on the story about John Robison. It will touch you & inspire you. It's called Ingenious Minds: John E. Robison. I am betting your son is much like him. Your son will be successful just hang in. I was where you are a year ago. My daughter is now in college. She does struggle every day but she is doing it one day at a time. Good luck to you & I hope the info is helpful
•    Anonymous said... Recently (last few years) I found out that I myself have aspergers. Since being diagnosed as a type one diabetic, I've been forcing myself into situations and roles that I find myself initially shying away from our despising the thought of, just to conquer my own psyche. Before being diagnosed with t1D, I had a crippling fear of needles, which as you can imagine I had to overcome quite quickly. This has become the mantra to my life. "You can do what your brain Screams you cannot. You only have to try." I'm now working in a face to face and phone based sales and solution position, and I'm loving it so far. I still occasionally get the old urges to retreat into my computer for solace and familiarity, but the more and more I squash those urges, the easier it becomes to face new challenges everyday. Any job, or role, would suit an ASD fine as a career, but they have to get comfortable with the idea of having challenging situations which trigger the "panic station" response to be overcome. It is possible, but to begin with it's not easy.
•    Anonymous said... The thing is, aspie kids have challenges but are most often quite gifted human beings. Geek chic baby. I think Sheldon on TBBT is wildly popular because he nails it in a lot of endearing ways.
•    Anonymous said... With many Aspergers people it takes longer to what some people would say"grow up" and be mature enough to take on roles away from our comfort zone.

More comments below…

18 comments:

alpinekodiak said...

Here are the facts:
-I have Asperger Syndrome
-I am a 23 year old guy
-I am in my last year of grad school doing an internship.
-I had a strong interest in many natural sciences as a younger child.
-I am an Eagle Scout.
-I was frequently bullied by others in middle school.
-I started my first year of college as a biology major.
-----HOWEVER-----

I am NOT a Rocket Scientist and
I am NOT a Zookeeper;
I am a Social Worker.
I don't technically have an established career or license just yet, but I have an internship and I'm getting real close. Since my first year of college I have experienced many emotional changes, and I realized that my place in society is to give direct help to those who cannot help themselves. It is my job in society to prevent young and innocent lives from being lost and destroyed. I have volunteered and worked for several different afterschool programs, helping agencies, and day camps. My internship is with a children's mental health consultative services in my home state, and even though so far it's been emotionally hardcore, I have no intentions of turning back.
My point is there may be some genetics involved in this disorder, and there may be some common patterns, but I really believe that people with Asperger's syndrome and other forms of autism on the high functioning end of the Autistic Spectrum actually CAN do things that many people believe they can't or deliberately don't do. Don't get me wrong, my own family, as well as many close others were shaming me into going back to the science field, and it made me feel very useless, but I simply refused to go back. They have long given up on their quest to get me "back on track" (so to speak) because they finally came to realize that their resistance and my own deficits together were just no match for my passion.

I'm not advising those out there to enter this field or not enter it, but if you feel passionate about a cause of some kind, there has got to be a way you can fight for it. Though I wouldn't suggest discussing religion in your job, God really does work in mysterious ways. LOL

Anonymous said...

I really admire what you just said
Here are my facts:
I am a 19 year old girl with Aspergers
I just dropped out of college
I really want to help people and want a career that supports this
I hate the asperger stereotypes
I'm thinking of doing a career in social care
I completely relate to your situation

About Me said...

I'm the parent of an 11-year-old boy with Aspergers, and I'd be extremely proud if he followed in your steps alpinekodiak. One of the things I love about my son is that he is a very caring person and has a keen sense of justice. That sense of justice is just as much a characteristic of Aspergers as being a science nerd (no offence intended to all you scientists out there!) Good on you.

Equalityrocks said...

I was wondering about good jobs for me. I have Asperger's, anxiety and a bit of OCD as well. (Not an uncommon combination, but the disorders don't go well together). I am not very good with animals, and not all that good at math either. Though I am interested in some aspects, I don't think I'd be able to be anything in a science field. There is too much math. (Also, to enter a university or college course, you have to have high marks in advanced math courses, which I don't think I am capable of achieving). I am in grade 11 at school, and they starting to talk about jobs. I really I'm stuck. I am bad at math and don't have the best social skills either. What is a job that doesn't require either?

Special Interest; I do special interests, but they are either:

-Something I am interested in, but not very good at (like cats)

-Something that doesn't have a skill attached to it (like a musician/musical group)

Anonymous said...

I seriously think half my professors in college were somewhere on the spectrum. Computers is a good interest to have though!

Anonymous said...

IT is definitely filled with Aspies... very little social interaction and they can control their environment to a great extent....I would encourage him to follow his interest! Look at Steve Jobs! My mother read his biography and is sure he was Aspie! :)

Anonymous said...

I had the same concern's. My son is finishing his first year of college and it has been a struggle. But we learned alot. He is talking computer's as well.

Anonymous said...

My son is in year 7 & wants to be an accountant,he plans on going to uni.going to support him all the way & so hope his dreams come true.

Anonymous said...

My son is going on 12 and his interest is still Pokemon. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

my husband has a/s +o,c,d+a,d,h,d,his passion in life is trasvel and transport,he is a bus/coachdriver and very happy,his twin also has a/s ,she writes books,non fiction,had many published,other a/s in family have careers in accountancy/concervation/nursing/breeding and showing cats and dogs to high leval,just follow your dream,

Anonymous said...

my boys 12 & hes still into pokemon,moshi monsters & ps3 games lol x

Anonymous said...

My son is 10 going on 30. He too is consumed by Pokemon which drives us all crazy! If the subject on Mastermind was Pokemon, he would win hands down. But, I have high hopes for him in anything he chooses to do. He will need a lot of support and encouragement, but as long as he has a keen interest in it, he will do well. I'm sure most of the consultants I've dealt with have A.S.! Jeanne

Anonymous said...

if his only interst is commputer a nd he is good at it,then he must go for career in it,with my aspergers family,husband/in laws and daughters,the only careers that work are the ones that are thier special interst/obsessuin,my husband adores transport and he is a bus driver,sister in law her obsession is animals,so she ran a zoo and wrote books on animals,very successfully,when my family have followed qualifications or money ,its not worked,but if they follow thier obsession it will work,

Anonymous said...

This question always puzzles me.

Although Asperger children are in many ways different to others, when choosing a career the approach should be the same: Follow your passions. Follow your interests. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses and choose a career that fits.

Use your common sense when guiding your child and don't steer them into a career choice just because someone said it was "well suited to Aspies".

Anonymous said...

my husbands family were horrified he wanted to be bus driver,so bullied him into college and work in the city,he hated it,but his family thought as he is so intelligent that bus driving was not good enough,but finaly he got his wish in middle age,yes they are very bright and clever,but often they need rigid timetable and to work alone,so we have found in our aspergers family if they follow thier dream and not money or qualifications,then all is good,our oldest a/s daughter went with her head and not her heart,ended up in high powered job and had total breakdfown,so as they all have different hobbys and obsessions its different for every one,but most in our family work in transport/animal welfare/conservation/accountancy/I T ,so let them follow thier dream,
about an hour ago · Like

Rose said...

I'm a 24 almost 25 y.o. Aspie in th middle of a job crisis. Might I suggest that ur son could help make pokemon one day or even organize fan events in the not too distant future. Obsession is v. Common amongst Aspies & it may b phase that will pass (like me & Yoshi) or a true interest that he'll hav throughout his life. But encourage him to participate in events & to b creative. It is never too early to work towards employment with Aspies. Because creating & experimenting is something we long for (hence video games). I only wish I had done so when I was younger 2 b better prepared 4 now.

Cecilia from California said...

My son is 17 years old and is entering his senior year. He loves and is good at Math and Science, and wants to be an Engineer. He does not get good grades in school due to his anxiety, disorganization skills, and due to his lack of being able to bounce back when there is a drawback in his life (i.e. out of school sick for 8 days, wallet stolen, cell phone stolen, etc.). My son, my husband and I met with an instructor and director (both are engineers and with Phds.)of the Engineering program at Cal State Long Beach in order for my son to decide which field of engineering he was more interested in. You should have seen his excitement (sarcasm: they really do not show it) when we walked through the classrooms and the labs. What was interesting was that the instructor was observing him the whole time while she was talking to all of us. She mentioned the look in his eyes when he was looking at the equipment for electrical engineering projects. I was amazed at her observation and my son agreed with her observation. I had already disclosed the fact that my son has a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder (AD)and I mentioned that he is higher functioning. The 2 Drs. were very supportive and instructed us as to what to look for in a good Engineering program and school. They seemed genuinely interested in my son's best interest regarding our concerns about his post secondary education and his unique needs. When we left my son commented that they gave him a lot of good information and that he looks forward to his senior year. I knew he would want to do something related to Math or Science and he can have both together. My hope is that he will do better in his college classes since they will be ones that he likes and is good at.

So, this is another way to help your child to get an idea as to what they want to do. Have them visit a college or university. Have them talk to their teachers about the subjects, my son likes talking to his math, science and physics teachers. Find your child's strengths, his/her interests build on it to find a career that they can connet it to. Make sure they are talking to their counselor and that you as the parent are also communicating with them. It took a while before they took my son seriously that he wanted to go to college, since he has an IEP and does not get very good grades they thought that he would not be a college bound student. This can be a problem with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Apserger's Syndrome (AS). Teachers and school staff have low expectation for our children, therefore our children will also have low expectation of themselves.

Sorry, during my posting I mentioned ASD and AD, due to the fact that my son received his diagnosis through regional center and he had speech and language delay (due to chronic ear infections). That is why his diagnosis is not Asperger's Syndrome, but has similaar diffficulties.

Andrew Nagel said...

I am 21
Male with Asberger's
Fit the stereotypes
Had and still have trouble fitting in
Most people have not quite understood my problem
Been bullied, diagnosed with depression and PTSD
School has become difficult, work as well
Struggling to figure out my career
A POSITIVE is publishing poetry and standing up for the rights of others
Most are intolerant, especially a camp director and a former teacher
Many things in life have become difficult, but it is tough work.
Had trouble with a college because of it
For the most part, had trouble simply fitting in
Once you accept it, it becomes easier to function in life
It should never be seen as a weakness

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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