Return to site

Holding a Job with Aspergers

by Aaron Tanner

· Employment,Aspergers,Unemployment

For most adults, day to day living involves holding down a job. For those with Asperger Syndrome, holding down a job can be difficult as many studies have concluded that there is a high unemployment rate for those with the condition. For example, one Autism related non-profit puts the unemployment rate as high as 75 to 90 percent for those with Asperger Syndrome.

Fortunately, I have bucked this trend; thanks to help from a vocational agency that helps those with disabilities, by working at a dental lab in Huntsville, Alabama. My tasks include inventorying and packing items to be shipped to dental offices across the United States. I have been at my current position since November of 2014. My place of work has won an award by the state of Alabama for hiring people with disabilities.

I do pretty well at my position when things operate smoothly. Where I have an issue is when a lot of work comes down to my department all at once, especially at the last minute. For example, UPS and FedEx orders have to be wrapped, counted, and ready to ship by a specific time. A lot of the time the work is not ready to inventory and wrap until crunch time.

As one can see, one of my weaknesses is working well under pressure. There have been times where I have had to remove myself due to nearly having a meltdown or anxiety attack. Removing myself, even when we are busy, is much easier for the whole staff and for the floor be down a worker for a few minutes than letting sensory overload cause an episode that will more than likely throw everyone else off.

Working in a team has caused me to focus more on how my actions affect others. This is not an easy task for someone with Asperger Syndrome as many with the condition have a hard time putting themselves in other people’s shoes. This is an important lesson that needs to be taught in social skills classes, even if it takes a while, if a person diagnosed with Aspergers is to success at employment.

I have been told I have a hard work ethic to the point that some have said I care too much about my work. Another thing I do not like is being late. Also, I feel that if you want something done to do it yourself. I have a good eye for detail and finding errors that may have been missed by others.

When it gets close to crunch time, I say a little prayer and try to tell myself to do the best you can. It is not my fault if work comes down at the last minute. If we do not meet the deadline, someone will volunteer to hand deliver the packages to the UPS building for shipment.

When it gets close to crunch time, I say a little prayer and try to tell myself to do the best you can. It is not my fault if work comes down at the last minute. If we do not meet the deadline, someone will volunteer to hand deliver the packages to the UPS building for shipment.

I know my supervisor would prefer we have the work done on time. However, as long as the work gets to the dentists on time, then that is all that matters no matter what time the packages get into the UPS or FedEx deliverer’s hands.

I am very fortunate to work at a company where people understand me and are willing to work with me. They are also okay that I often have to work harder than others without my condition and that my best speed and amount of work I am able to complete may not be at the same level as someone who does not have my condition. Another lesson I am still learning is with all the bad news that has affected America in the past year that it is not the end of the world if we miss a deadline by a few minutes.

It is important that job skills classes teach those on the spectrum how to be flexible and work under pressure. On the flip side of the coin it is also important for managers and supervisors to work with those with Aspergers so that they can become a valuable asset to the company. With help by both sides, I believe that the trend of unemployment for those with Asperger Syndrome can be reduced.

All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly