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Holding a job a struggle for adults with autism

Recently, CNN featured a report on the often-difficult reality of holding a job for adults with autism. The report involved a 30-year-old woman who has a high-functioning form of autism. Even though the young woman has been hired numerous times during her adult life, her mental impairment has often prevented the jobs from becoming careers.

She said things like flourescent lighting can affect her ability to function because it easily brings down her mood. Another problem the woman often faces is remembering tasks because of memory issues caused by Asperger's. Additionally, the woman also loses track of time and struggles with being social, which can be problematic in many work environments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1 in 50 children are diagnosed with some form of autism, and eventually many of these children could grow into adults who have trouble functioning in work environments. The Arc, a national organization of and for people with intellectual and related developmental disabilities, is working to address the issue by educating employers about the benefits of hiring people with autism.

"When it comes to questions from businesses, it is just communicating to them the facts. Giving someone with autism a chance to work, many employers will discover that those on the spectrum are great at working with numbers, computers and spreadsheets," a spokeswoman from The Arc explained.

Luckily, Social security Disability benefits may be available to people whose autism disorder prevents them from working altogether. In order to get approved for SSD benefits, one must submit and application and provide sufficient evidence to document their disability and how it impacts their ability to work.

Source: CNN, "The reality of finding a job with autism," Jareen Imam, April 30, 2013

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