Friday, September 2, 2011

Some thoughts to Consider

I am going to take a moment to deviate from the autistic story post for this week to talk about a topic that is presently on my mind.

There is much talk about the disadvantages of autism.  Many believe that individuals on the autism spectrum can never lead a "normal" life.  In many cases, that is true when severely autistic people are concerned.  Consider this question, what does normal mean anyway?  Of course, there are widely accepted behaviors know, incidentally, as norms.  Individuals with autism tend to break many norms because we do not have instinctive social knowledge that most people have.

Autistic people are different than the majority of society.  Not be any choice of lifestyle, but by genetics and personality.  As a member of the autism spectrum, I can see the disadvantages just as well as anyone else can, but as a writer with a degree of intuition, there are also advantages to being autistic.  They are unique and subtle advantages, but they should not be underestimated in any case.

I am going to consider two cases where these advantages might be present.  First I am going to look at severely autistic individuals. Secondly, I am going to look at high functioning autistic individuals, such as myself.

In the case of those with severe autism, they are completely dependent on those around them.  That is where the cure for autism is focused.  These individuals with severe autism are completely dependent on their families for support and the basic necessities of life, which they are incapable of providing themselves.  They with in a world dictated by their sensations.  People, politics, the feelings of their caregivers do not occur to them.  They are trapped in there own bodies, unable to communicate, or show what they really know.  It seems that the disadvantages in this case have stacked up really quickly.  However, I believe that there are still advantages.

For one thing, multiple service industries have emerged to help people with autism.  It is true that they are pricey, and sometimes out of reach to a number of working class families.  Despite that, jobs have still been created as the result of individuals with severe autism.  In addition, a lifetime of care for an individual with autism teaches the caregivers humility, as well as illustrating how lucky the caregivers themselves are to not have autism, to be able to experience the world through the eyes of someone without sensory issues.  I believe many of those life-long lessons can only be taught with extreme hardship.

Secondly, I am going to consider the individuals with high functioning autism.  These individuals needs special care and special teaching to find their place in the world.  Once this care is received, then they can find what their unique skills can be used for in this changing world.  Individuals with autism may not see the whole picture through their narrow vision.  If they can find a career where that narrow vision provides advantage, then they can notice things that other people overlook in the workplace.  I remember seeing on the news a few years ago, there was a company that hired only individuals with Aspergers Syndrome to work with computer technology.  The owner was aware that the workers with Aspergers would not waste time socializing during the workday.  Their focus would only be at the job at hand, and the progression of technology at this workplace was incredible.  Of course, the fair treatment of workers with autism would have to be ensured, however there did not seem to be a problem in this case.

To conclude, I believe that individuals with autism present unique advantages to the workforce.  I am a college student majoring in marketing.  To do so, I am receiving a background in many different business topics, not just marketing.  In every class, we are reminded that the world is now considered as a global economy, with the actions of one country affecting the well being of another.  It is not my intention to begin a political debate, rather to point out that the world is changing.  As the world changes, individuals with high functioning autism may find themselves at an advantage in the workforce due to their extreme focus and hard working traits.  This is just a prediction, I don't know what's going to happen in the future any more than you do.  All I can do, all anyone can do, is to keep living our lives and hope for the best.

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