Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IT Technology

German IT Firm Seeks Autistic Workers 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the recognizing-ability dept.
Aguazul2 writes "The German software giant SAP has announced it plans to recruit hundreds of people with autism within the next few years. The project has already started in India and Ireland where a total of 11 people with autism are employed by the company. The program to take on software testers, programmers and data management workers will spread across Germany, Canada and the U.S. this year. People with autism have a neural development disorder that often undermines their ability to communicate and interact socially [...] but in the world of computers the tendencies they often display such as an obsession for detail and an ability to analyze long sets of data very accurately can translate into highly useful and marketable skills."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

German IT Firm Seeks Autistic Workers

Comments Filter:
  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:43PM (#43796825)

    As anybody who had to work with SAP software can certify, it can only get better.

    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Funny)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:49PM (#43796905)

      Perhaps they will put them in Sales, so their sales will match their product quality.

      If you want to put your company out of business then go to SAP. That way you can blame someone else.

      • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dogbertius (1333565) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @04:26PM (#43797227)
        There are too many details missing from the article for it to be of any use. One of my family members works with young people with autism every day, working towards teaching them to communicate, express one's self, and, if they are lucky, to be able to integrate into mainstream society as independent adults rather than being dependent on aid workers or being a burden of the state. The ability to maintain a steady job, a relationship, and a career in general, is, in my opinion, a very significant pursuit, and worth the investment.

        Are these individuals diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome? How far along the ASD spectum are they? Once you are so far along, the ability to talk and interact with external information sources is gone. I doubt SAP will be hiring people that are completely mute and unable to communicate with other humans via computers or sign language of any sort.

        Also, in the EU, you can have nine doctors diagnose you as free of autism, but a tenth says you have autism, that final diagnosis sticks. A lot of parents take advantage of this in North America as autism is one of the few behavior-affecting conditions that is funded by the government for subsidized care, teaching, etc. It's fairly common for parents of "hyper active" kids to intentionally seek out an ASD diagnosis just for the funding. It's pretty shameful, actually.

        For all we know, SAP's idea of "autistic" could be little more than very mild Asperger's syndrome or even as little as being slightly eccentric and being misdiagnosed.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          The proxy at work hates /. so not bothering to login.

          Anyhow they might be following the footsteps of this Danish family that started a business with Autistic employees because their son was autistic and they wanted their to be somewhere for him to work when they were gone.
          http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/putting-the-gifts-of-the-autistic-to-work/

          They found out their employees do excellent QA work and they even charge a premium for it.

          Don't let EA find out about they guy they had to tell to go

        • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @07:12PM (#43798575)

          Also, in the EU, you can have nine doctors diagnose you as free of autism, but a tenth says you have autism, that final diagnosis sticks. A lot of parents take advantage of this in North America as

          ... As apparently North America is part of the European Union? :/

          It's fairly common for parents of "hyper active" kids to intentionally seek out an ASD diagnosis just for the funding. It's pretty shameful, actually.

          It's quite common as well for doctors to tell patients to shove it. I have a diagnosis of both ADHD and Asperger's (btw, that's not what they're calling it now) and getting medication is exceptionally difficult, especially for anxiety. You don't mention this, but anxiety has such a high comorbidity with ASD that it's practically unheard of to find someone without it. The reason for this is those drug-seeking parents and young adults who want mind-enhancing drugs or their precious little snowflake to stop tearing the house apart and just veg out in front of the television. Parenting, lulz -- Disney raises our kids today.

          So it's not that I disagree with your assessment, but a clinical diagnosis, confirmed with neurological testing, is highly effective at screening out those segments of the population. And while it is a problem, it is still uncommon -- most people who present with ADHD or ASD symptoms have a bona-fide medical condition. Only a small fraction of patients are trying to abuse the system. Unfortunately, just as with pain medication, the political fallout and disinformation spread by well-meaning but lacking any medical certification people such as yourself only contribute to the problem of real patients, with real problems, getting help.

          On a different note; I don't think this German IT firm is seeking autistic workers because they're better. They're seeking them because they're vulnerable adults without the capacity to protect themselves from exploitative labor practices. And programming, contract work -- much of our field is exploitative in nature and one must be assertive, sometimes even aggressive, in pushing back. I've had to teach my aspie friends how to assert themselves on this sort of thing, because they genuinely can't see it. They are generally very trusting people; They don't see ulterior motives. It's part of the condition -- they're so intellectual they take everything at face value or literally.

          In this field... it's a recipe for disaster. Contrary to what this firm and many of the general public believe: IT is not a cash cow, nor is it glamorous work. Working with computers is emotionally draining, and long hours can be physically demanding. That attention to detail that's so sought after may be great for programming, but it's absolutely horrid when you have a team of people all like that; There's a reason we all have different skillsets and personalities -- too much of any one thing on a team leaves critical weaknesses in thinking that can lead to disaster.

          • by greg1104 (461138)

            Contrary to what this firm and many of the general public believe: IT is not a cash cow, nor is it glamorous work.

            Ah ha...I see you aren't familiar with SAP then. Their IT based cash cow pulls in $20 billion a year.

          • by cornjones (33009)

            hmm, mod vs comment... i guess comment.

            for the most part I agree w/ your statement but I don't agree with this part:

            On a different note; I don't think this German IT firm is seeking autistic workers because they're better. They're seeking them because they're vulnerable adults without the capacity to protect themselves from exploitative labor practices.

            The germans (and europeans) seem to have a stronger societal ethic than you are giving them credit for. Where in the states we have abandoned everything that doesn't directly contribute to the short term bottom line, imho, the germans are able to take a longer view. This is a way these people can make a useful contribution and the society as a whole is stronger for finding some way for every

            • http://www.salon.com/2010/08/25/german_usa_working_life_ext2010/ [salon.com]
              "How did Germany become such a great place to work in the first place?
              The Allies did it. This whole European model came, to some extent, from the New Deal. Our real history and tradition is what we created in Europe. Occupying Germany after WWII, the 1945 European constitutions, the UN Charter of Human Rights all came from Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Dealers. All of it got worked into the constitutions of Europe and helped shap

              • by cornjones (33009)

                Too bad we have strayed so far from those points our selves.

                Thanks for the link, i find it very interesting. I also think there is a longer view of history in Europe that allows/forces people to think longer term. So while we may have put a lot of good ideas into law, the societal values are not all our doing.

    • The only way of making the pile of crap called SAP better is to take the drives with its code, format them, overwrite them with random data, go buck-wild with a sledgehammer on them and toss the pieces into the Mariana trench. Only then will I consider talking about possible improvements.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ph4cr (775696)
      Indeed - I have Asperger's Syndrome. Autism runs in my line. I was diagnosed later in life. There were "pills for weird pupils" when I was a child. Fortunately my parents were to poor or to stupid to dope me up! I've been doing IT Security for almost 20 years. Well before the attacker waterline rose above Corporate America's collective ankles! I always considered my "oddity" to be a sometimes benevolent "gift". With a variety of socially and personally unpleasant side effects... So - now neurological c
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I'm waiting for them to replace politicians with autists.

      No religious beliefs, no desire to wield power over others, pragmatic, good at math, won't sleep until the economy is fully optimized ... it's all good.

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:44PM (#43796835)

    People with autism have a neural development disorder that often undermines their ability to communicate and interact socially [...] but in the world of computers the tendencies they often display such as an obsession for detail and an ability to analyze long sets of data very accurately can translate into highly useful and marketable skills.

    From that description, I'd guess that 95% of autistic people already work in the IT field.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by fellip_nectar (777092) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:46PM (#43796853)
      I think you'll find we all have Asperger's, you insensitive clod!
      • Not in the DSM anymore, because it's not really distinct from autism in any meaningful way.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mwvdlee (775178)

          There is very much so a distinction.
          People with autism have a disability that causes socially problems.
          People with asperger have social problems that they blame on a disability.

          • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:40PM (#43797885)

            Go fuck yourself! I don't have any social problems. You have the social problems.

            I like trains. Do you like trains? My favorite train locomotive is the Hockdruck H17-206. It was built in 1925 by Henschel, on the Schmidt high pressure system. Hockdruck is German for "high pressure".

            • Not so. (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              You are confusing "Hockdruck" and "Hochdruck". "Hockdruck" is German for "squatting pressure". Uncomfortably related, though.

          • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Livius (318358) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @06:57PM (#43798471)

            Humans are social animals. Social problems *are* disabilities.

            • Exact.
            • by schnell (163007)

              Social problems *are* disabilities.

              I can see that what you're saying comes from the right place. But the way you say it is far too broad and doesn't admit for the possibility of meaningful distinctions between types or degrees of social "problems" or that some issues are personal "issues" rather than "disabilities."

              For example, we can probably agree that society should assist or support those with severe personality disorders. But what about different degrees of antisocial behavior that result in a person having no social contacts? In its mo

              • People with Asperger's aren't antisocial by choice. They don't readily understand the social rules that come naturally to other people. For example, if you ask my son (who was diagnosed with Asperger's) how his day was, you're probably looking for an answer along the lines of "It went pretty well." Instead, you'll get a second-by-second stream-of-consciousness replay of his entire day.

                People with Asperger's can learn the social rules, but it takes effort to remember it all. This means that being social

          • No, people with Asperger's are high functioning Autistics. The good news is that they can usually function in day to day society. The bad news is that they mask their issues well enough that people can tell them they don't have any real problems. For the record, my son has Asperger's and I likely have it as well. (I'm not diagnosed because it would cost money to get the diagnosis and it wouldn't help me or my son at this point.)

            Just because a few people take a social problem and joke "I must have Asperg

        • Not in the DSM anymore, because it's not really distinct from autism in any meaningful way.

          An unfortunate decision - for the victims and their families, there is a huge difference from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    • Yes. Or are Senior Surgical Staff at teaching hospital.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:55PM (#43796955) Homepage

      From that description, I'd guess that 95% of autistic people already work in the IT field.

      Many of the people in IT probably score a little higher on the autistic spectrum, but there's a difference between that and full-on autism.

      Lots of people will say they have Aspberger's to write off their eccentricities as well. But without a proper clinical diagnosis, those people are usually wrong.

      Sometimes, people are just annoying jerks with an over-attention to detail, but that makes them neither autistic nor people with Asperger's. Once we accept that about ourselves, we can try to be slightly less annoying and work on some of those things. ;-)

      • Lots of people will say they have Aspberger's to write off their eccentricities as well.

        As diagnosed by Zach Weiner in his Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
        http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2832 [smbc-comics.com]

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jovius (974690) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @04:45PM (#43797395)

        I work as a part-time helper and I've seen some pretty average cases of autism too. Normal in this case means incapacitating sensitivity to stimuli, inability to communicate (some just scream or laugh at things) and extremely aggressive behaviour (Some of the care-takers I know have been bitten, badly bruised or some of their hair has been pulled off). The image what general population have of autism and asperger's is twisted, and it's amusing how many self diagnose themselves with some totally idealized disease just to have some meaning in their lives. The diagnosis selectively lands on the 'best' cases.

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          The image what general population have of autism and asperger's is twisted

          To be fair, the general population only ever sees autistic people who are highly functioning, because baseline and severe cases are still "hidden away" by parents. No one wants to bring an autistic kid to dinner at a restaurant when they'll be freaking out and screaming all the time. That and Rain Man.

          • No sane parent would bring a severely autistic child to a restaurant. If they have a problem processing stimuli or expressing emotion, they will react very strongly to such a high level of stimulation. It's new surroundings to process and understand, and respond to accordingly.

            There was a story a couple of months ago regarding Auti-Sim [gamejolt.com]. I work with kids with ADSs, and while I can't say how accurate the "game" is to how they actually perceive the world, I can definitely appreciate that over-stimulation can
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @04:04PM (#43797037)

      It depends. There's "autistic", where (and I'm not trying to be insensitive with my description, here) someone may be wearing protective gear, rocking/spinning, groaning a lot and freak out if there is any noise or light and who are literally unable to communicate with their family in any manner beyond gesturing . . . and then there are the Slashdot hipsters who have taken to the trend of self-diagnosing with Asperger's over the last five years, because they are occasionally "socially awkward penguin" or "are really obsessive about something and detail oriented".

      The article makes it pretty clear that they're talking about "socially awkward" Asperger's people (presumably legitimately so and not those climbing on board the label, because they took an online quiz) and not the ones who have actual communication issues and have difficulty functioning within their home, much less in a professional environment performing QA functions.

      I have friends who have autistic children, so I really hope my description of the first case isn't made out to be cruel. In my (limited, as an outsider) experience, it is pretty accurate of the lower ends of the Autism spectrum.

      • by TWiTfan (2887093)

        I'm shy, and also an asshole. Surely that means I have a syndrome, right?

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by smellsofbikes (890263) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:24PM (#43797753) Journal

        It depends. There's "autistic", where (and I'm not trying to be insensitive with my description, here) someone may be wearing protective gear, rocking/spinning, groaning a lot and freak out if there is any noise or light and who are literally unable to communicate with their family in any manner beyond gesturing . . . and then there are the Slashdot hipsters who have taken to the trend of self-diagnosing with Asperger's over the last five years, because they are occasionally "socially awkward penguin" or "are really obsessive about something and detail oriented".

        The article makes it pretty clear that they're talking about "socially awkward" Asperger's people (presumably legitimately so and not those climbing on board the label, because they took an online quiz) and not the ones who have actual communication issues and have difficulty functioning within their home, much less in a professional environment performing QA functions.

        I have friends who have autistic children, so I really hope my description of the first case isn't made out to be cruel. In my (limited, as an outsider) experience, it is pretty accurate of the lower ends of the Autism spectrum.

        There are also people who move across that continuum. My wife has a lot of classical physical autism characteristics: rocking/spinning, inability to function with noise or bright/flashing lights, finds the touch of silk, moving water, grass completely unbearable, walks on her toes all the time, among others, but can usually manage to work a real job that involves dealing with problem children for eight hours a day because she has worked out a very precise, detailed system of how she approaches the work, and she's fantastically good at what she does. If an employer is willing to go to the effort to provide the specific work environment in which a borderline autistic person can function, it could be hugely beneficial for both the employer and the employee.

      • by seebs (15766)

        The distinction you point to is not as clear-cut as it might seem, because often these are the same people under different circumstances.

        I do just fine. I have friends whose underlying autistic traits aren't any "more severe" or whatever, but who were raised by people who tried to force them to "be normal", and they have a much harder time.

        Overload me, and I can't understand or use spoken language reliably. I can still read and write, though. But if no one ever gives you a pen, you can come across as a lot

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        You might be interested in reading about the experiences of Temple Grandin [wikipedia.org].

      • The rocking/spinning is called Stimming - or self-stimulation. It's utilized by those on the spectrum as a coping mechanism for situations (possibly including sensory overload) that they can't handle otherwise.

    • Autism or Asperger’s syndrome? I guess the distinction is moot now with the very recent release of the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [dsm5.org] eliminating Asperger Disorder in favor of Autism Spectrum Disorder

      Also, remember person-first language: "workers with autism" instead of "autistic workers"
      • Also, remember person-first language: "workers with autism" instead of "autistic workers"

        That's a nice sentiment, but it's not how English sentences are constructed. Adjectives reduce awkwardness. It can make a real difference in complex clauses.

        • In my English, workers with autism do things to autism, like workers with leather might make wallets and shoes.

          • by Culture20 (968837)
            "workers with X" =/= "people who work with X"
            Workers is a collective noun, and the with modifying it means that X is something the collective noun possesses.
            I believe you're confusing "workers of X" and "workers with X"
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @04:18PM (#43797163)

        So we should say "people with slashdotism" and not "insensitive clod"?

      • I agree that it is a nice sentiment, but English tends to be a modifier-first, head-final order nomenclature. Think Songbird vs. Birdsong. It’s longer, it has more words – you are going against the nature grain of language.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by seebs (15766) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @06:52PM (#43798433) Homepage

        Please, please do NOT use "person-first" language.

        I'm autistic. Most of my friends are autistic. I know dozens to hundreds of autistic people.

        Guess how many people I have ever met who are autistic, and prefer to be called a "person with autism"? Hint: The number is slightly lower than one, and it's an integer.

        Try going around referring, not to women, but to "persons with femaleness", and see how that works out for you.

        A randomly selected blog article on the topic. [blogspot.com]

        Basically, person-first language marks you as aligned with the Autism Speaks folks and their anti-autistic-people propaganda machine. Avoid it.

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Diamonddavej (851495) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:05PM (#43797569)

      85% of autistic people are unemployed, though most are willing and able to work.

      http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/employment.aspx [autism.org.uk]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:47PM (#43796871)

    SAP want them cause they are easily exploitable. I have sadly had to work with SAP twice, there software is crap and most of their developers are Indians paid like maids (in Sweden). I have no respect for that company or their software (or any company stupid enough to use it).

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:55PM (#43796953)

      SAP want them cause they are easily exploitable.

      No, SAP wants them because the state mandates a quota of people with disabilities to all larger companies, and in exchange, the companies get various benefits from the state for every such employee.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        No, SAP wants them because the state mandates a quota of people with disabilities to all larger companies, and in exchange, the companies get various benefits from the state for every such employee.

        No no no, the Germans are the only people who can culturally relate to autistic people -- the need for order and rigorous detail is appreciated there and viewed as a good thing. ;-)

        (And, for the record, I've worked with Germans before -- most of whom are awesome and will make their own jokes about their collectiv

        • Have you read the 1632 series of books by Eric Flint? Do it, it's wonderful. An American town (from semi-rural West Virginia, no less!) gets lobbed into the 17th century Europe, in the middle of Germany (and also in the middle of the Thirty Years' War), and everyone wonders why these strange people who claim to have come from the future English colonies in the New World, by means of some strange cosmic accident, think that the Germans with their motley assortment of duchies with hideously complicated by-law

        • by johnjaydk (584895)

          No no no, the Germans are the only people who can culturally relate to autistic people -- the need for order and rigorous detail is appreciated there and viewed as a good thing. ;-)

          I've been inside a BMW assembly plant in Germany and I were chocked even though I had been warned in advance. The place was cleaner than most restaurants in the rest of the world.

          Everybody who've have had a high-end German car is ready to praise German obsessive compulsiveness. You can also find a lot of shit in Germany but whe

    • by jopsen (885607)

      SAP want them cause they are easily exploitable.

      Seriously, a company does something nice for a group of people with a serious disability, and your first thought is that they want to exploit them.
      Drop the paranoia... Some news is just good...

      I have sadly had to work with SAP twice, there software is crap and most of their developers are Indians paid like maids (in Sweden).

      Are you sure? I don't know what maids in Sweden make, but I'd imagine they make a pretty decent salary (easily 3-4000 USD / month).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:49PM (#43796899)

    My hiring practice with be women with big tits. Because I have just as much evidence as these Germans do.

    • In IT? What if she already has a job?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A lot of them will finally get jobs.

  • Tax Breaks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:53PM (#43796931)
    Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

      Spot on. EU requirements of x %age of employees with y issues/minority when company employee count > y.

      • This seems more sensible than the American way of consigning people that dont fit the social mold to a proverbal rubbish heap. The tax breaks probably cost less then the loss in national productivity that occurs when people are not given the opportunity to do their best because of minor things that, when looked at with an objective eye, don't reduce performance.

        I have an MBA from a state university; however, I also have very minor cerbral palsy, and yes, a just a touch of autism (used to be Aspergers untill

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

      You're not being cynical at all. I don't know about .de, but in .cz, companies have the option of contracting a protected job position, where, in exchange for some special treatment of the employee by the employer (beneficial for the employee), the state agrees to pay a (significant) part of the employee's salary. I'd be surprised if the Germans didn't have something similar.

    • Maybe they're betting they can get away with paying a terrible salary to people that have a hard time finding a job due to their disability. It's a business model that's worked well at Goodwill

      http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/208068/189/Goodwill-Pays-Disabled-Employees-Less-than-Minimum-Wage [wusa9.com]

      • Some people recieving a disibility check from the federal goverment can lose benifits if they recieve too much income. The system is set up with the assumption that lots of people are faking thier illness. So you have bored people voluntearing at places like goodwill. These jobs are sometimes part of treatment programs.
    • by Shompol (1690084)
      Definitely yes, and that is the main reason behind the decision. Still, the tax breaks are not likely to cover the expense of hiring someone, so they stake it on a claim that autistic people are capable of work in software.
    • by D1G1T (1136467)
      I'll bet there are. And I'll bet you can pay them less than minimum wage, too, as part of some kind of "therapy" program.
    • Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

      Don't know, but they will definitely be paying them less.

  • I have been saying for a long time if these are our "best and brightest" can we give our worst and dullest a chance to see if things get any better?

    Considering how poor SAP software is, this might produce a better product in the long run.

  • Thorkil Sonne (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @04:05PM (#43797049)

    SAP aren't the first to do this.

    Thorkil Sonne at Specialisterne in Denmark has built a consultancy of autistics. [wired.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_Dark

    It's a good story in any case, and it's told from the point of view of an autistic person who works for a company that has specifically be hireing people, sounding very similar to this story

    David Lang

  • "Help wanted. Non-autistics need not apply."

  • This will be abused. Either the autistic employees will be abused or the non autistic employees will be abused because they are not performing as well as the autistic employees. I think it's a really good thing that these people are being given opportunities, I just don't know how their "talents" won't be exploited by management. Low social functions could also mean not really speaking out when asked (forced) to work 12 hour days.

    Maybe I jump to cynical conclusions but it seems generalizing autistic peop
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Low social functions could also mean not really speaking out when asked (forced) to work 12 hour days.

      I would expect the opposite. High social functioning people are usually the ones kept for 12 hour days because of their perceived social obligation.

  • Not everyone with autism has superpowers. So will they be firing these people by the hundreds in order to weed out the gifted ones?

    • by turp182 (1020263)

      Sounds like regular developer higher practices to me. Hire them on as contractors for a six-month right-to-hire period.

      It's not a bad practice if it helps some people find jobs they would have otherwise never been able to achieve.

  • I am an "aspie" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @05:45PM (#43797921)
    Note: The Google translator is shit and my native language (brazilian portuguese) is complicated to translate, so expect ugly spelling errors

    As a bearer of Asperger's syndrome, I can - safely - affirm for you guys that the inability of social interaction is not my choice. It's like yours social skills being always "offline" with no way to be switched on, I am unable to get the "social signals" that everyone realizes without having to learn and I am treated as "invisible" by everyone or even worse, as "easy target".

    In contrast, it is easy, pretty easy to me to develop any complex application without neglecting the details and seeing both the whole and the part of the system, in my work I take care of all aspects of a local government system and the users are pretty satisfied with it. Too bad I have to live like a social outcast with no choice (because others actively reject me for not being exactly like them).
    • While researching Asperger's (after my son's diagnosis), I read that Aspies tend to think in If-Then scenarios. For my son, this means that using If-Then statements are highly effective if you want him to do something. For example, if you say "Get your shoes on!", he'll continue to watch TV. If you say "If you get your shoes on, then we can go to the store", he'll get his shoes on.

      As far as social situations are concerned, however, If-Thens are horrible. Social situations have tons of grey areas and com

      • I think you nailed it, I also think frequently in the "if-then" way. It's hard for me to do something just to do it (example: go to park with no specific goal), but easy to do when they have a defined goal (if-then).

        While walking on the street, almost all time I pass scenarios in my head and try to decide what to do if one of them occurs (example: if a girl approach me without obvious reason, what will I do?).

        Using an analogy (sorry, no car analogy this time :-)), social interaction to me is like a pr
        • And, just to extend the programming analogy, if you are high-functioning enough you can learn to emulate many of the social "variables and functions," but your emulator will be slow and resource intensive compared to the "native code" that other people seem to have.

  • by Livius (318358) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @07:08PM (#43798549)

    Everyone has varying degrees of ability in different areas.

    Some people are sensitive to non-verbal signals, and some less sensitive, and some really have to work at understanding them.

    People who genuinely have Asperger do not realize there is such a thing as non-verbal communication until someone teaches them. Their instinctive understanding of human nature does not even include it.

    Ironically, their abilities and temperament are actually highly prized in a great many employment situations.

    It's job searching where they're handicapped.

    • People who genuinely have Asperger do not realize there is such a thing as non-verbal communication until someone teaches them

      Bingo.
  • Autistic people are not just socially inept and prone to obsession. They're also really poor at understanding what they are supposed to be doing and staying on tasks that don't interest them. A few such people in an organization are OK. Managers can deal with one or two people who require extra supervision. But if your whole department is staffed with autistics, you're not going to get the job done and not be able to cope with the unexpected.
  • I'm definitely on the spectrum and I outscored almost the entire country on a standard Tek Systems programming assessment and my college instructors said I'm the best programmer they've ever seen and yet I still can't get a job because I only have a 2-year degree (two 2 year degrees actually). Until HR pulls their heads out of their asses and treating resumes like baseball cards instead of people, inferior programmers will keep getting hired over me and crappy software will continue to be the norm.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

Working...