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Autistic children and their future

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

Are you concerned with the next generation of autistic adults?  I think it's fair to wonder since there are more children diagnosed with autism everyday.  The numbers are alarming.  1 in 68.  (Edit) 

Discuss with empathy and class, please.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 28, 2014 at 4:23 PM
Replies (41-50):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 14 on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:40 PM
All I know is that I'm an adult with Asperger's. It's hard sometimes but I manage. I cope very well at work - my coworkers and employees have no idea. It's when I get home I allow myself to stim. My stress level during the day is ridiculously high over things that I know, logically, are ridiculous. I can't control how I feel about some things, but I can control how I react.

Regardless, I'm department head. I'm an autistic adult who has managed to hold a job and even land promotions. Sometimes my obsession with numbers and organization actually helps me in my work.

I'm not necessarily worried about potential autistic adults due solely to their diagnosis, but I am worried we aren't helping autistic people to find enough appropriate coping mechanisms.
Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Good question.  Unfortunately we parents do not live forever and when we are the primary care-takers to these children-turn-adults, it is a very real worry.  I can't fathom leaving their care to a impersonal facility of some sort.  

Quoting StarLight23:

I worry to an extent, but my son is very high functioning and he is working on his social skills every day. We tell him he can do anything he wants but there are some skills he needs to learn before that; like how to listen and follow directions.

I think my son will be able to live on his own and hold down a job; even marry and have kids.

I do worry about some of the families that have other children not only with autism but other developmental or mental disabilities; what will happen to them? yk?



Lydlou02
by on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:43 PM
It's mostly the anxiety. That and I think too much and I try to find just the right words. I end up saying the wrong thing.

Quoting Anonymous:

Is it the social aspect of the job interview that was difficult for you?  Do you experience irrational fear/anxiety etc!?

Quoting Lydlou02: I'm not concerned. I'm autistic.
Job interviews are hard, but holding a job wasn't. I'm a sahm now.

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Anonymous
by Anonymous 9 on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:43 PM
They don't separate it by "low functioning" and "high functioning" because it can change throughout the years.

ABA therapy can "rewire" a child with autism's brain in such a way that it can completely change their functioning level. Your brain has an amazing neuroplasticity (which is the brain's ability to change it's structure and function in response to it's experiences). A once "low functioning child might respond well to ABA therapy and make great progress. A child considered "high functioning" might not respond well. ABA therapy is probably one of the most used and recognized therapy, but it's really up to the individual response to the therapy for it's effectiveness, or lack of in some cases.

Quoting Stephw1110:

When they put out these statistics I really wish they would add in things like a percentage of high, middle, and low functioning.  It would make them much easier to look at overall.  Most high functioning will go on into society with little help.  Most will hold good jobs and be self suficient, probably leading normal lives as we would all think of.  Middle functioning will probably need some help.  But depending on what interventions were taken at a young age and what services are needed and available in adulthood, this person could still be a functioning member of society.  Low functioning are the ones that will always need help such as a group home.  I would be very interested to see these statistics.  I have a feeling the reason the we see such a steep increase is because a lot of the middle and high functioning kids weren't diagnosed years ago.  Yes I believe there's more people with autism but I also believe the better diagnosis is causing more people to fall in the higher categories.

Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:44 PM

You silently drive yourself crazy.  Lol. Well, you did say the most important thing.  You know it's irrational.  You simply can't help the way you feel.  You can control how you react and that is the difference that many need help to learn.  I agree with you.  

Quoting Anonymous: All I know is that I'm an adult with Asperger's. It's hard sometimes but I manage. I cope very well at work - my coworkers and employees have no idea. It's when I get home I allow myself to stim. My stress level during the day is ridiculously high over things that I know, logically, are ridiculous. I can't control how I feel about some things, but I can control how I react. Regardless, I'm department head. I'm an autistic adult who has managed to hold a job and even land promotions. Sometimes my obsession with numbers and organization actually helps me in my work. I'm not necessarily worried about potential autistic adults due solely to their diagnosis, but I am worried we aren't helping autistic people to find enough appropriate coping mechanisms.


happydancer
by on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:45 PM

 they say the number is going up. im not sure if it is bc of flu shot immunizations.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 15 on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:49 PM
I have 3 kids with autism, the oldest is almost 18. The younger ones are 6&7. I treat them like normal kids. They don't get any special treatment from me. They do go to a specialized school for autistic children. I am teaching them to be independent just like any other person.
Lydlou02
by on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:50 PM
I only read the first half of this, but I want that job. I want to work for SAP doing qc.

Quoting Anonymous: How Autism Can Help You Land a Job

DUBLIN—Some employers increasingly are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace.

Germany-based software company SAP AG has been actively seeking people with autism for jobs, not because of charitable outreach but because it believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs than those without autism.


It's a worthy initiative, according to disability experts, since 85% of adults with autism are estimated to be unemployed.

Piloted in Germany, India and Ireland, the program is also launching in four North American offices, according to an announcement Thursday.

SAP aims to have up to 1% of its workforce—about 650 people—be employees with autism by 2020, according to Jose Velasco, head of the autism initiative at SAP in the U.S.

People with autism spectrum disorder—characterized by social deficits and repetitive behavior—tend to pay great attention to detail, which may make them well suited as software testers or debuggers, according to Mr. Velasco, who has two children with the condition.

In addition, these people bring a different perspective to the workplace, which may help with efficiency and creativity as well, he said.

"They have a very structured nature" and like nonambiguous, precise outcomes, Mr. Velasco said. "We're looking at those strengths and looking at where those traits would be of value to the organization."

Autistic employees at SAP take on roles such as identifying software problems, and assigning customer-service queries to members of the team for troubleshooting.

One employee works in "talent marketing," issuing communications to employees internally. The company is looking for someone to produce videos and is considering an applicant with autism who has experience in media arts.

SAP is also considering other positions, such as writing manuals to give clients very precise instructions on how to install software.

Individuals with autism might excel at going step by step, without skipping details that others may miss, said Mr. Velasco. The business procurement process, such as getting invoices or managing the supply chain, is another area in which an individual with autism might shine, he said.

SAP isn't the only company to have such a program. In the U.S., mortgage lender Freddie Mac has offered career-track internships since 2012, including in IT, finance and research.

The lender hired its first full-time employee from the program in January, according to a Freddie Mac spokeswoman. In IT, the company has found that interns often perform well in testing and data-modeling jobs that require great attention to detail and focus as well as a way of seeing things that might not have been anticipated by the developers.

"Harnessing the unique skills of people on the autism spectrum has the potential to strengthen our business and make us more competitive," according to the lender's policy.

To be sure, as with any group, people with autism have a range of interests and abilities. SAP is working with a Danish autism-focused training and consultancy firm, Specialisterne, which carefully screens and interviews the candidates to find the appropriate matches before sending them to SAP to evaluate.

Patrick Brophy, 29 years old, has a bachelor's degree in computer science in software systems and a master's in multimedia systems, which includes website development and editing. Mr. Brophy says he has Asperger's, a term commonly used to describe a milder form of autism spectrum disorder.

He had been looking for full-tine work for a few years but said that in the handful of interviews he went to, he would sometimes stutter or misinterpret questions, which he felt reflected poorly on him in the interviews.

When he arrived at SAP for the screening day, however, he had the technical qualifications and he appeared to have skills to work in a corporate setting, according to Peter Brabazon, Specialisterne program manager. Mr. Brophy was hired by the quality assurance department in July, where he identifies glitches in software prior to it being issued to clients.

"Four weeks before joining, I was steadily more and more nervous," said Mr. Brophy, who worried about his adjustment to a new environment. "Within a month, [the work] was second nature. I had found myself."

Mr. Brophy said there have been challenges with his job, particularly when he has to revamp how he does a certain task.

From a social standpoint, he found it easy to integrate into his team, said both Mr. Brophy and David Sweeney, a colleague assigned to be his mentor.

About 1% of the population in the U.S.—or some three million people—is thought to have an autism-spectrum disorder. The latest figures issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in 68 children have been identified with an autism-spectrum disorder.

Their lifetime employment rate is extremely low even though many want to work, said disability experts. Among young adults between 21 and 25 years old, only half have ever held a paid job outside the home, according to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Though many people with autism go on to higher education and are qualified for employment, they may have trouble getting in the door of a workplace because of difficulties with networking or interviews, according to Wendy Harbour, executive director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, at Syracuse University.

There are a number of companies and outreach efforts that aim to hire people with autism, seeking to tailor work to their abilities.

But SAP and employers like Freddie Mac said their effort is specifically a business decision to take advantage of what they see as unique skill sets.

SAP said that individuals being considered to work there usually have had at least some higher education.

In Dublin, the candidates arrive at the company's software design center, dubbed the "AppHaus," which features open spaces, movable desks and whimsical furniture. They are asked to work in pairs on a task building a motorized robot. Candidates are given the instruction manual and brief instructions.

Assessors from Specialisterne look to see if the candidates listen to instructions and pick up on cues, and how they react to challenges such as how the colors of the pieces to the robot look different from the instruction manual. "I want to see how they work together and their technical skills," said Debbie Merrigan, one of the assessors for Specialisterne.

She wants them to be meticulous, she says. If they aren't it doesn't mean they aren't employable, but they may not be a good fit for working at SAP. Sometimes candidates get overwhelmed and simply leave.

After Specialisterne identifies a candidate as being a good fit, SAP then conducts further interviews, as they would with any other applicant, says Kristen Doran, a program manager in human resources at SAP Dublin. At this facility, 15 candidates were screened and interviewed in order to hire the three who are currently placed as contractors. Mr. Brophy works in the quality assurance department while the other two individuals are in the troubleshooting division.

The candidates are paid market rate and if they succeed on the job, they will be hired as full-time employees after a year, said Liam Ryan, managing director of SAP Labs Ireland.

Difficulties with social interaction and inflexibility can sometimes pose significant problems for individuals with autism, and SAP has a mentoring system and in some cases has made changes to the work schedule to accommodate these new employees. The company also conducts a month of employee-adaptation training to increase employees' comfort level at working with the team as well as another month or more of job training.

"It's hard to go into a corporate space if you prefer order to disorder," says Thorkil Sonne, founder of Specialisterne. "Our biggest effort is to work with them…to define and strengthen their comfort zone," said Mr. Sonne, who has a son with autism.

Write to Shirley S. Wang at shirley.wang@wsj.com
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Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:55 PM

That's nerves!  I have extremely high anxiety myself.  It's terrible in fact.  Do you take medication?  I have to.  

Quoting Lydlou02: It's mostly the anxiety. That and I think too much and I try to find just the right words. I end up saying the wrong thing.
Quoting Anonymous:

Is it the social aspect of the job interview that was difficult for you?  Do you experience irrational fear/anxiety etc!?

Quoting Lydlou02: I'm not concerned. I'm autistic. Job interviews are hard, but holding a job wasn't. I'm a sahm now.



Anonymous
by Anonymous 14 on Mar. 28, 2014 at 9:58 PM
Exactly. Lol. I've learned I have to double-triple guess everything I do to make sure that everything I do and say is appropriate, that it's rational, that I'm not overreacting... I really do drive myself crazy on a regular basis, lol.

I occasionally remember a person whose autism presented much like mine (at least, she agreed we were rather similar); she also would have an absolute breakdown over everything. Lights too bright, too much stress, too much noise, etc. I never could understand how we could be so similar and yet so different.

The only large difference I could find between us and our triggers and everything else was that she had been diagnosed as a child, whereas I had been diagnosed as an adult. My family is the type to think any mental disorder or disability is an absolute joke; I grew up hearing "What the HELL is WRONG with you?!" quite a bit.

Essentially, I grew up doing everything within my power to appear normal, to imitate other people, to force my symptoms under control. I've had YEARS of practice. But my acquaintance, however, had not; her therapist had taught her to be expressive, that people should be understanding of her breakdowns even in public.

I don't think there's any one way to help people with autism, child or adult. The way I learned was hell as a child and teen but helped greatly as an adult; the way that girl learned was helpful as a child and teen but did absolutely nothing for her as an adult.

I do think, in the end, because autism is such a diverse diagnosis and because we really know so little about it, that the current or recent methods of "help" are more of a band-aid than a solution. They only work short-term and can potentially produce even more issues.

Quoting Anonymous:

You silently drive yourself crazy.  Lol. Well, you did say the most important thing.  You know it's irrational.  You simply can't help the way you feel.  You can control how you react and that is the difference that many need help to learn.  I agree with you.  

Quoting Anonymous: All I know is that I'm an adult with Asperger's. It's hard sometimes but I manage. I cope very well at work - my coworkers and employees have no idea. It's when I get home I allow myself to stim. My stress level during the day is ridiculously high over things that I know, logically, are ridiculous. I can't control how I feel about some things, but I can control how I react.

Regardless, I'm department head. I'm an autistic adult who has managed to hold a job and even land promotions. Sometimes my obsession with numbers and organization actually helps me in my work.

I'm not necessarily worried about potential autistic adults due solely to their diagnosis, but I am worried we aren't helping autistic people to find enough appropriate coping mechanisms.

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