Schools are accustomed to meeting at least some of the needs of children with autism. Public schools are required to provide services until they reach the age of 22. But what happens once those children have grown up?
Many children with special needs become adults with special needs — for help finding a job or educational programs, for example.
"Because Autism affects a person's ability to process information and understand social cues, continued support is needed in a wide array of areas: paying bills, maintaining personal hygiene, finding and keeping a job, and, most importantly, socializing with others," wrote Helaina Hovitz in Forbes. "Many individuals with Autism have trouble relating to their peers and securing and maintaining employment, and families often have to keep their children at home after they turn 18."
But Autism is not a uniform disadvantage. The Wall Street Journal reports that at least some employers are beginning to seek out people with autism for certain kinds of jobs:
Germany-based software company SAP AG has been actively seeking people with autism for jobs, not because of charitable outreach but because it believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs than those without autism. ...
It's a worthy initiative, according to disability experts, since 85% of adults with autism are estimated to be unemployed. ...
SAP aims to have up to 1% of its workforce — about 650 people — be employees with autism by 2020, according to Jose Velasco, head of the autism initiative at SAP in the U.S.
People with autism spectrum disorder — characterized by social deficits and repetitive behavior — tend to pay great attention to detail, which may make them well suited as software testers or debuggers, according to Mr. Velasco, who has two children with the condition.
We speak with two specialists in the training field about the needs of children with Autism as they enter adulthood.