Monday, July 12, 2010
The Columbus Dispatch has an article today Asperger syndrome in the work place, "Young Adults with Asperger's Syndrome Struggle to Find Jobs." The article features my friend Dr. Tom Fish of Aspirations.
This discussion of adults on the spectrum needing jobs serves as a good illustration of the weakness of the child based cure model used by groups like Autism Speaks. Being able to diagnose autism at an early age and even being able to "cure" it does nothing for adults. All the autistic children out there are going to become autistic adults so what are we doing to help them?
The first step in solving this problem is to get out of the medical model of disability and move to a social model where people on the spectrum are viewed not as people who are disabled, but as members of a minority group. Businesses exist to make money; they are not going to hire charity cases. They can, though, be convinced to follow their own interests and hire and even go out of their way to make room for people who are unconventional and have unconventional skills.