Despite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other state and federal anti-discrimination employment laws, it still remains difficult for people diagnosed with autism and other intellectual disabilities to obtain employment, and, if they do, to keep their jobs.
A recent news feature from the San Francisco Gate looks at what jobs people with autism can not only do, but also can excel at. This article was written after author attended a workshop for people living with autism and their family members.
One of the main questions asked by the audience is what kinds of jobs have people with autism been successful at in the past. The answer to this question, according to the speaker, depends on how a particular person with autism learns. She describes people with autism as learning either as a visual thinker, a pattern thinker, or a word fact thinker.
A visual thinker, such as the main speaker, said she personally thinks in terms of photo realistic images. She was never good at algebra, but many who are visual thinkers are quite good at geometry or trigonometry, which involves visual representations and angles. Some occupations particularly suited for visual thinking autistic individuals include artists and graphic designers, architects, auto mechanics, photographers, and animal trainers.
The next group of people with autism is known as pattern thinkers. Pattern thinkers, as the name suggests, tend to think in terms of patterns instead of photograph images. These individuals may have trouble reading and writing, but may excel at music and math, which function based upon complex patterns. In the past, pattern thinkers have been successful in occupations involving scientific research, statistics, engineering, math, computers, chemistry, and other technical fields.
Work fact thinkers, the third type of learning for autistic persons, involves a knowledge of facts and history about a variety of subjects, and these individuals may be best suited for jobs such as a journalist or blogger, record keeper, data entry specialist, special education teacher, or speech therapist.
While is good to see there are a variety of employment opportunities well-suited for persons with autism, this does not mean it will be easy to get a or keep a job due to the manifestations of one’s intellectual disability. While it may be difficult to prove in some cases, employers routinely discriminate against persons with all kinds of disabilities, including intellectual disabilities such as autism. If they do hire persons with autism, as they often do for tax credits, many employers do not treat these individuals with the same respect paid to other employees, despite the fact this is also illegal.
If an employer has discriminated against you or a family member during a job interview or based upon having a physical or intellectual disability, it is important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles employment attorney as soon as possible. While you may have a valid case, is important to be able to file the complaint or lawsuit within the statute of limitations for bringing such an action. Your consultation will be completely confidential, and you should not worry about your employer or perspective employer finding out.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Autism and employment with intellectual disabilities, April 30, 2015, SF Gate
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McNaughton v. Charleston Charter School – Winning a Wrongful Termination Case, Feb. 7, 2015, California Employment Lawyer Blog