Can technology help people with autism in the workplace?

Communication and social difficulties with neurotypical co-workers stop over three-quarters of adults with autism from getting a job in the UK. Technology could help them overcome these barriers. In February 2021, the Office of National Statistics released figures showing that only 22 per cent of adults with autism in the UK are in any kind of employment. Only 16 per cent work full-time, according to the National Autistic Society (NAS). These figures don’t come close to reflecting autistic people’s levels of capability in the workplace. Pioneers such as Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Mozart, Michelangelo are believed to have been autistic, albeit undiagnosed. Perhaps Steve Jobs too, some observers have suggested. What the numbers do show, however, is a systemic failure to include and involve around 1 per cent of the UK population (according to NAS figures) in the workplace, cater for their needs, provide opportunities, and adequately use their talents. NAS defines autism as a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Society literature explains that people with autism have difficulties interpreting verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Some have very good language skills, but struggle to understand sarcasm, figurative […]

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