Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Strengths-Based Approach to Autism in the Work Place

A guest post by AHEADD Regional Program Manager, Rachel Hodas

With the Positive Psychology movement gaining popularity within the fields of psychology and education, there is a growing trend to take a strengths-based approach when working with children. Such efforts allow us to look past a child’s deficits, or areas of difficulty, and encourage us to also focus on what is going well in the child’s life. With this awareness, it not only enables us to capitalize on the child’s strengths when planning interventions, but it also helps promote more positive evaluations of that child.

A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal highlights another effect of this strengths-based movement. According to this article, major companies are actively seeking out employees with Autism, who are believed to possess skills that can make them particularly effective for certain positions in their company. Their close attention to detail and highly structured nature are some of the assets that make individuals ideal
contributors to these companies. In fact, a German software company, SAP, is actively recruiting employees with Autism. The article states that this company hopes by the year 2020 to have at least 1% of its employees (approximately 650 people) comprise individuals with Autism. SAP has created a mentoring system to help these employees develop the social skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Additionally, a mortgage lending company, Freddie Mac, released a policy stating "Harnessing the unique skills of people on the autism spectrum has the potential to strengthen our business and make us more competitive."

At AHEADD, we are glad to learn that others are beginning to recognize the strengths of
individuals with disabilities.

What are your thoughts on this article?

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