Autistic Adult’s Guide to Getting Hired

This is the table of contents and FAQ for the Autistic Adult’s Guide to Getting Hired, which is currently operating as a series on this blog.  If you have questions or topics you’d like me to cover, leave them as comments on this post or Tweet them to me @danialexis.

Table of Contents (in reverse chronological order by date of post)

FAQ

1.  How, exactly, are you qualified to write this thing?

I’m a former attorney with experience in employment law and policy.  I currently run my own business, in which I specialize in writing materials for recruiters, hiring managers, and HR departments.  My business partner is a former health care administrator with forty years’ experience in hiring and personnel management.  Twice in my life, I’ve landed full-time with-benefits jobs “cold” – that is, without networking or knowing anyone at the company before I showed up.

I’m also autistic.

2.  Have you seen Autism Speaks’ guide to employment for autistic adults?  What do you think of it?

Yes, I’ve seen it.  First, I think its title is misleading – it’s called “A Guide to Employment for Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs),” but the text is explicitly aimed at parents who want to help their young-adult children find employment – nothing in it is aimed at autistic individuals themselves.

Second, while the guide focuses a great deal on getting a job through various services available, like vocational rehab, career counseling, or supported employment, it fails to address autistic individuals who may not have access to these services or who may simply want (or need) to be more “in charge” of their own career/job path.  There’s nothing wrong with using job-related services if they help you, but there’s also nothing wrong with going it alone, either.

Finally, and this is the biggest flaw I see in the guide, most fully-employed autistic people got there with the help of other disabled people, diagnosed or not  Our community really can support one another into fulfilling and bill-paying employment.  Check out Autonomous Press, for example – nearly all of the current partners are autistic (all are disabled), and the networking the press has been doing at events like the Society for Disability Studies conference has included a great many autistic professionals and students.  Both as a community of our own and as part of the greater disability community, we have the power to support and help one another – a power that Autism Speaks consistently ignores, and ignores in this guide.

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