Adults with autism and other developmental disabilities have the potential and skill to be great employees, just like every other person in the workforce. However, due to ignorance, preconceived notions, and ill-suited job processes, these skills often are ignored by employers and businesses.
“Plenty more companies could benefit from hiring autistic people,” said writers from The Economist. The Economist says that many skills that autistic adults have to offer often go unseen in the interview process.
An article in the Guardian discusses how job interviews pose a huge barrier for adults with autism seeking employment due to the requirement for good communication skills. Key difficulties include: establishing relationships, social interaction, flexibility of thought, and emotional reciprocation. However, the Guardian claims, “The upside is equally considerable.”
“People with autism tend to be very reliable and punctual,” said Jane Asher, the president of the United Kingdom’s National Autistic Society (The Guardian). “They like routine, and most won't mind doing repetitive tasks. Many are very good with maps and figures. They are usually scrupulously honest – they just don't have the guile to be anything else, and they can't lie.”
Additionally, according to the Economist, adults with autism are loyal employees who are detail-oriented. This them very effective workers.
Like everyone else, adults with autism have so many unique skills and experiences to offer an employer and company. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook the many benefits of employing adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
“There is a huge lack of imagination on the part of employers who are missing out massively by ignoring this untapped pool of labour," said Asher.
In order to truly gauge candidates’ abilities, employers can adapt the interview processes to better suit adults with autism and other disabilities. The Economist suggests replacing interviews with tests of relevant skills. Simply understanding autism and other developmental disabilities can also allow employers to be more considerable and patient during the interview process.
These and other issues regarding adults with autism finding employment are not only addressed by Popcorn for the People, they are the reason PFTP was created. Popcorn for the People strives to create a welcoming work environment for those on the spectrum; in order to use their workers’ skills to the greatest extent, Popcorn for the People matches their employees to the tasks which most suits their skill sets: some workers make and bag the gourmet popcorn while others market and sell the product at events. Additionally, the interview process is completed by employers who have great understandings of autism and developmental disabilities. At Popcorn for the People, the benefits of employing adults with autism are not ignored, they are welcomed.