34 Best and 10 Worst Jobs for Adults with Autism
Autism should not become a hindrance when it comes to finding and retaining employment as one grows older. The disorder could affect everything from the ability to separate the senses to the onset of meltdowns parents are often faced with. Certain factors like pollution could aggravate the risk of birthing an autistic child while the bright lights and large crowds at malls could make pictures with Santa near impossible and Sensitive Santas necessary.
Parents of autistic children are not the only ones who require special provisions in the workplace or jobs flexible enough to manage both the child and the finances. It is hard enough for the average individual to forge a career path for him or herself, but when a disability poses an obstacle life seems to become all that much more difficult. Things that could get in the way include:
- Sensory overload issues
- Problems with showing emotions
- Delayed or inadequate language development
- Social awkwardness
- Inability to handle large crowds/agoraphobia
- Need for certain things to be a certain way
- Lack of proper mental transition into adulthood
According the the latest research, only about 53% of young people with ASD had ever worked outside of the home in the first 8 years after completing their secondary education, the lowest rate found among minorities suffering from disabilities. 1 in 5 have been found to work for minimum wage or less and currently hold a job or are set on a career. That accounts for only 20.9%.
Of course, those who are older, come from households of higher income and are higher functioning in society are more likely to not only find a job, but also show advance in their positions. Often, the problem lies in the fact that most individuals on the spectrum have a harder time transitioning into adulthood. Half of all ASD young adults have worked outside the home, however, from all levels on the spectrum, which is most definitely cause for hope.
“Many families tell us it’s like driving off a cliff when their child with autism exits high school because there just are not many options once they enter adulthood,” said Dr. Paul T. Shattuck, an associate professor in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and Drexel University School of Public Health. There may not be too many options, but the few that exist might just be the ticket that an autistic young adult needs to succeed in life and pave his or her own path.
With the 2013 version of the DSM-V removing the extra categories and having all forms of the disorder known as autism, society has been thrown into a bit of confusion. How will those diagnosed to be on the spectrum manage to fend for themselves? What jobs should they take on?
Jobs in IT are highly recommended for those on the spectrum. Apparently, it is the perfect niche for autistic individuals to focus on. Forbes mentions a Netherlands study which has pointed out that autistic individuals are six times more like to find and retain a job if they live alone or with a partner, have a household they run and have previously held any job for longer than 6 months. It is not impossible to find a job at all for any individual at level of functioning. Here is what Indiana University recommends:
Best Jobs for Adults with Autism
- Computer programmer
- Commercial artist
- Graphic designer
- Web designer
- Craftsman (jeweler, woodworker, blacksmith)
- Technical repairman
- Building maintainer
- Taxi driver
- Bank teller
For the nonverbal autistic, certain jobs exist as well, including:
- Store restocker
- Library helper
- Factory assembly worker
- Copy shop helper
- Warehouse helper (grunt work)
- Data entry specialist
- Office helper
- Other small jobs with little need for communication
Worst Jobs for Adults with Autism
- Casino dealer
- Anything with oral dictation
- Taxi dispatcher
- Ticket agent (airline, circus, etc.)
- Market trader
Of course, if your autistic young adult is having a hard time finding a job to start off with, creating one that complements his or her strengths is also an option, according to these creative and innovative parents from Chapel Hill, N.C. Impossible is nothing. Every individual with autism, no matter how low in functioning, is able to work to sustain him or herself; sometimes it requires a bit more effort and a lot more creativity to figure out how.