· By Jason Katz
The Issues With Autism and Employment
Every person’s hopes and dreams usually share one commonality: getting a job. Financial stability and security is necessary for many to succeed and reach their personal goals, but adults on the autism spectrum often find it difficult to obtain and maintain a source of meaningful employment.
In America, the unemployment rate of adults on the autism spectrum is around 80%. According to the Autism Society, in June 2014, 16.8% of the population with disabilities was employed; “by contract 65 percent of the population without disabilities was employed.” These statistics are startling and shine a light on the huge issues between gaining employment and having autism.
So why is there such a difference? There are many answers to this question, but a major explanation is the lack of understanding that many employers have of autism and other developmental disabilities.
According to an article on healthtalk.org about Life on the Autism spectrum, “The difficulties experienced [with finding employment] relate to a number of different factors including the social and communication difficulties people experienced, anxiety issues, difficulties in applying for jobs or handling interview situations effectively, difficulty multitasking or time management and obsessional behavior.”
These issues, alongside impatient employers ignorant about developmental disabilities and job processes ill-suited for those on the spectrum, contribute to the 80% unemployment rate experienced by the autism community.
Places like Popcorn for the People strive to fix this issue by providing a work environment in which autistic adults are treated with respect and dignity. Through the strategic use of their employee’s skills and experiences, Popcorn for the People’s gourmet popcorn is the only nationally trademarked product made completely by adults on the autism spectrum. They hope to be a model to employers, showing them that adults with autism can be invaluable members that contribute to a thriving business.