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Finding the Right Job: Help for Young Adults with Aspergers

If you’re an older teen or young adult with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism, be sure to find a job that makes use of your strengths.

"Aspies" tend to 1) have poor short-term memory, 2) have good long-term memory, and 3) be visual thinkers (although some are non-visual thinkers). Thus, in some (if not most) cases, a job that takes these three factors into consideration may be a good fit for Aspergers employees.

The “visual thinking” jobs listed below (a) put very little demand on fast processing of information in short-term memory and (b) utilize the visual thinking and long-term memory of the Aspie.

The “non-visual thinking” jobs listed below are for those who are good with numbers, facts and music. These jobs also put low demands on short-term memory and utilize an excellent long-term memory.

Good jobs for Aspies who are visual thinkers:
  • Animal trainer or veterinary technician
  • Automobile mechanic
  • Building maintenance
  • Building trades
  • Commercial art
  • Computer animation
  • Computer programming
  • Computer-troubleshooter and repair
  • Drafting
  • Equipment designing
  • Factory maintenance
  • Handcrafts of many different types such as wood carving, jewelry making, ceramics, etc.
  • Laboratory technician
  • Photography
  • Small appliance and lawnmower repair
  • Video game designer
  • Web page design

Good jobs for Aspies who are non-visual thinkers:
  • Accounting
  • Bank Teller
  • Clerk and filing jobs
  • Computer programming
  • Copy editor
  • Engineering
  • Inventory control
  • Journalist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Library science
  • Physicist or mathematician
  • Statistician
  • Taxi driver
  • Telemarketing
  • Tuning pianos and other musical instruments

Job Tips for Young Adults with Aspergers:

1. Aspies who are still in high school should be encouraged to take courses at a local college in drafting, computer programming or commercial art. This will help keep them motivated and serve as a refuge from bullying.

2. If you can’t afford a computer for your older teen to learn programming or computer aided drafting, used computers can often be obtained for free or at a very low cost when a business or an engineering company upgrades their equipment. Many people don’t realize that there are many usable older computers sitting in storerooms at schools, banks, factories and other businesses. It will not be the latest new thing, but it is more than adequate for a student to learn on.

3. Jobs should have a well-defined goal or endpoint.

4. Make a portfolio of your work.

5. Pick a college major in an area where you can get jobs. Computer science is a good choice because it is very likely that many of the best programmers have either Aspergers or some of its traits. Other good majors are accounting, engineering, library science, and art with an emphasis on commercial art and drafting.

6. Sell your work, not your personality.

7. The employer must recognize your social limitations.

8. You need to learn a few social survival skills, but you will make friends at work by sharing your shared interest with the other people who work in your specialty.

9. Young adults with Aspergers have to compensate for poor social skills by making themselves so good in a specialized field that people will be willing to "buy" their skill even though social skills are poor.

10. Be patient with yourself as you navigate the give-and-take of the social environment in the workplace.

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