Trying to find suitable employment can be a challenge for all of us. There is the application process to overcome, followed by the interview.
With the right guidance people with autism can find meaningful and worthwhile careers by working in line with their interests and strengths. However, it is important to bear in mind that everybody is unique, and will therefore have their own special interests and strengths.
Given that autism can cause problems with how one interacts socially, I found that I could benefit more in jobs that involved just working at your own desk with very limited contact with the client’s of the business for whom I was working until the jobs became redundant. This made customer facing roles unsuitable for me.
I have been involved in selling sport related clothing on Ebay. In the summer of 2021, there was increased demand for England football shirts, especially as England reached the final of the Euros, which led to prices of shirts going up. Two shirts that I sold went for a total close to £200.
A clothing business studying past sales histories might see patterns in their selling data where more t-shirts and swimwear would be sold in the summer months as the weather tends to be warmer. Logically, it would therefore make sense for them to stock up with this clothing as the summer approaches in the following year.
By analysing items sold and the prices they went for, one may be able to discern patterns in the data by seeing if any particular items sold well at a particular time of the year, or during any significant events. So roles in data analysis can be a possibility.
Jobs that I’ve done in the past involved data entry and data processing roles, sometimes involving cross checking information between documents to see that all the relevant data for one particular record would be matched up. I found this ideal since I consider myself to have a good eye for detail and being careful in checking things.
Below I have come up with my own thoughts of suitable careers for people on the autism spectrum, based on my understanding gained from being on the spectrum myself. The list will not be exhaustive.
Libraries are very quiet settings, which is one way this may be ideal for those of us with autism, as we can be sensitive to loud noises.
Working in libraries may involve having to file numerous books and other related items in certain orders. This may be suitable as those of us with autism can be very meticulous when it comes to organising things.
Having a good memory for finer details and larger amounts of information may come in handy here, as one may be able to recall where certain information is located.
Because autism can cause difficulties with social interaction, careers with working with animals can be ideal if one’s interested in animals. This may help deal with anxieties in non-judgemental settings, and even some social related skills that could be applied later in social situations. An example of a career here could be a dog trainer.
Examples of careers here can include doing research in science and medical related matters. Research might also involve the use of computer coding to make possible future predictions based on current data trends.
And if one is good at analysing data very carefully, they may see patterns in scientific or medical data that may be important for the development of future medicines.
As well as being logically minded, those with autism can have very creative minds. Some may be very gifted at drawing and painting. Having a good idea for detail may come in handy here too.
Through painting and drawing they may find it easier to communicate their thoughts and feelings through their works. This can be done through photography of nature based subjects.
This is another area some of us with autism are very gifted, such as at playing a musical instrument. We can have logical minds too. For me, logical minds, creativity and music are strongly linked. Examples of careers here can include composition, piano tuning and maybe manufacture.
If you have perfect pitch, this is, being able to tell what musical note is being played without looking, a job in tuning a piano during manufacture may be ideal. This can help greatly with composition. Through composition, they may also be able to express their thoughts and feelings.
By having good attention to detail one could find jobs where one can read through programming code and find errors within the code during debugging. If you're a computer programmer, chances are you’ll be working at your own work station with little social interaction. A role such as this requires a logical mind and defining set rules to be followed.
If someone likes to create and build their own creations using Lego, a career as a Lego Builder could be something to think about.
Those with autism can be good at learning foreign languages. This is another area where there may be logic involved to some degree.
One may have to study grammatical rules which refers to how words are put together in order to make meaningful sentences. In addition, some autistic people will have good memories, enabling them to memorise lots of words and their translations.
Some of us with autism can have an interest in wanting to understand how things work, and even have an ability to visualise any mechanisms involved which could potentially lead to a career in engineering.
Other possible fields to explore could be roles in manufacturing, especially if one likes to try and visualise how things may be put together e.g computer building. With the world becoming increasingly automated there could be opportunities in programming computers to carry out such tasks.
Despite social limitations linked to autism, those of us with the condition can offer skills and potential that will be of great benefit to the world.
If you’re on the autism spectrum have you ever found it a struggle to get employment?
Have you managed to find suitable, worthwhile and rewarding careers?
Why not let me know in the comments section below, along with any other careers not listed here and any other thoughts you may have regarding suitable jobs for autistic people.