Trait #1—All He Cares About in the World Is One Thing
If you've ever worked at a museum, lab or university, you'll find worlds full of single-minded, passionate individuals. To an academic, their area of interest, no matter how small, is desperately interesting. The same is true of museum professionals and archaeologists, who spend their lives studying individual artifacts, bones or textiles.
Trait #2—He Can't See the Forest for the Trees
It's a common trait among Aspergers (high functioning autistic) individuals: they see the parts instead of the whole. It's a problem in some settings, but a terrific attribute if you're looking for deep space anomalies (e.g., as an astronomer), unique cells (e.g., as a lab technician), differences among species (e.g., as a biological researcher), or particular qualities of objects (e.g., as a gemologist, antiques appraiser, or art historian).
Trait #3—His Only Friends Are His Family
This trait may not get you invited to the prom. But it's a wonderful attribute if you're a forest ranger, a self-employed writer or artist, a caretaker at an estate, a gardener or horticulturalist, or even a paleontologist (i.e., dinosaur scientist). After all, lack of interest in other individuals is not indicative of lack of interest in or ability to manage things, animals, or systems. And it's not easy to find a qualified person who's willing to spend extended periods on their own.
Trait #4—He's So Rule-Oriented
In a typical workplace, most individuals bend and break the rules. This is very tough for many Aspergers individuals, who need and respond to structure. But there are plenty of work places in which rules are absolute -- for everyone. Of course, the most obvious choice for rule-oriented individuals is the military. But even in hospitals and labs, rule-following is not only important -- it's critical.
Trait #5—He’s So Detail-Oriented
Q: Since when have passion, meticulous attention to detail, and lack of interest in office gossip been problems in the workplace? A: Since the workplace was defined as a 9-5 social setting! It's true that offices -- and the stock rooms at Wal-Mart -- are "typical" work settings. But Aspergers individuals aren't typical. And neither are the careers for which they're ALREADY good candidates.
Trait #6—He Likes Animals, Not People
It's not easy to become a veterinarian. But consider some of the many animal-oriented careers available. For example:
- animal tech at a veterinary practice or kennel
- animal wrangler for the entertainment industry
- caring for horses at a stable, horse-farm or track
- naturalist or husbandry expert at a museum or aquarium
- pet store employee
- working on a farm
- zookeeper or animal curator at a zoo or petting farm
…and the list goes on and on!
Trait #7—He Thinks In Pictures
Some Aspergers individuals can, with virtually no effort, envision a 2-dimensional photograph as a 3-dimensional object. With appropriate training, such individuals are ideal candidates for jobs in areas like CAD (computer aided design), architectural model construction, industrial design, exhibit prototyping, and much more. The key is finding and supporting the training that can lead to such careers.
Resources for parents of children and teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism:
==> Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Asperger's Children
==> Discipline for Defiant Asperger's Teens
==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management
==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's: How to Promote Self-Reliance
==> Everything You'll Ever Need to Know About Parenting Asperger's Children
==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism
==> AudioBook: Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism
==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism