Unlocking The Benefits of Hiring Talented Individuals on The Autism Spectrum
Updated: Jul 14
Written by: April J. Lisbon, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Any recruiter, human resource manager, or team leader knows that hiring talented individuals who align with an organization's vision and mission, along with possessing necessary skillsets, is needed to run a successful business. But it is also difficult to find high-quality individuals who can efficiently and effectively meet the demands within an organization. Finding ways to enhance one's diversity and inclusion program will be key to meeting these demands. A talent often overlooked but is essential to the advancement of any business is hiring talented individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
Here are some reasons why hiring individuals on the Autism Spectrum will enhance your overall organizational culture and climate, While ensuring that an organization’s bottom line is met within a reasonable timeframe.
Strong Visual Memory Skills
Individuals on the Autism Spectrum are masterful when it comes to remembering information that has been shown to them. These individuals have a unique way of seeing words and numbers through all five senses, which affords them the ability to see the big picture in even the smallest details.
This is useful in an organization wherein multiple projects are happening at the same time. By affording an individual on the Autism Spectrum the opportunity to access a small part of a project, they can create a picture profile that helps them ‘see’ the project from the beginning to the end.
Not only will this afford the individual on the spectrum to create a process that works for the initial project, but it is also recorded in their memory banks for future projects in the future. This will help to increase overall work productivity for future projects as they already have a script that actually works.
Even if another colleague forgets the steps of a process or how to handle a project, your employee on the spectrum will remember it in great detail—word for word. This may be beneficial for an organization trying to save time and money by not having to reinvent the process wheels repeatedly.
Exceptional Attention to Details
With strong visual memory skills comes the ability to attend to details. Those on the spectrum are gifted in this arena as they are able to account for every detail presented to them. Things that the average individual would either miss or view as insignificant, individuals on the Autism Spectrum are able to show how and why it is important within a project or process.
Imagine getting halfway through a project to realize that one of your team members missed a critical component within the project's process. Think about all of the time, money, and manpower it takes to fix these errors. Depending on the project and the cost, this has the potential to be astronomical. With their ‘Inspector Gadget’ senses, talented individuals on the Autism Spectrum can spot the problem and help teams find a resolution.
The ‘Go-To’ Problem Solvers
Let me preface this by saying that other individuals are naturally gifted at solving problems. It is what they enjoy doing, and their skill sets are far above the average man or woman.
However, most talented individuals on the Autism Spectrum are not only gifted in this area but also find it thrilling. In having worked and spoken with several Millennials on the Autism Spectrum, many have shared that finding a task wherein they can work independently of others is exciting, because they can tap into their spatial skills and create/configure solutions to problems. It is almost like the first time one solves a Rubik’s cube. Initially, it seems frustrating until you understand the patterns set before you. Once you understand the patterns solving the puzzle becomes a breeze.
This is how most individuals on the spectrum view tasks that they are able to complete. It starts off as a challenge, but once they are able to see the information, whether it be in colors, shapes, or numerically, they can create a system to solve it.
Some individuals on the spectrum are highly competitive, which makes tasks involving problem-solving exciting. This works well in an organization as there is reassurance that once an individual on the spectrum knows what to expect from a project, they will work on it until it is completed and completed correctly.
Masters of Structure
Individuals on the Autism Spectrum work well with a structured routine. When they understand what is expected of them from start to finish, they thrive and excel in these types of environments. Is it possible that kinks may happen, and unplanned events may occur? Absolutely!
However, relying on their strong visual skills and a keen sense of details, individuals on the Autism Spectrum are able to navigate these hurdles. For some, it may require a few opportunities of trial and error. Once they find their groove and know how to complete a task, individuals on the spectrum tend to excel.
It is important that organizational leads clearly define what the expectations are as well as possible hurdles that may occur to minimize any lag time between the start and deadline of a task. This will help reduce some of the angst often experienced by those on the spectrum while ensuring that all tasks are completed within a reasonable timeframe.
Individuals on the Autism Spectrum are known for their authentic take on issues. Sometimes it is often perceived as being ‘rude’ or uncaring. However, this is not the case. Because of their unique take on information and their ability to intellectually navigate even the most challenging tasks based on their passions, individuals on the Autism Spectrum have a keen sense if something will be a success or a flop.
This unique candidness is useful in organizations because it will help to ensure that there is no wasted funding spent on projects or processes that are potentially doomed from the beginning. Tapping into this innate gift and hearing what those on the spectrum are saying adds more value to a company than someone presenting information that is nothing but fluff.
There is no time like the present to begin the discussions of implementing diversity and inclusion programs that hire and retain talented individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Their unique talents are needed in an ever-changing global system.
April J. Lisbon, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
April J. Lisbon, Ed.D. is a workplace autism advocate. She helps organizations unlock the benefits of hiring and retaining talented individuals on the autism spectrum. Dr. Lisbon is the parent of a high achieving teen on the autism spectrum. She has over 20 plus years as a PK-12 school psychologist working with individuals from ages 3-22. Dr. Lisbon has been seen in the Washington Post, NBC News, Business Insider, Forbes, Autism Parenting Magazine, The TODAY Show Parenting, Family Circle Magazine, and several other national and international media outlets.