Sunday, October 24, 2010

Social Networking at the Job and Autism?

I recently read a most chilling (to those involved in the World of the Spectrum) book called The 2020 Workplace:  How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today by
Meister and Willyerd. 

The book is about getting talent in a changing world....one that is changing quickly, and maybe not for the better for those with Aspergers-just in time for all of those 1 in 166 birth generation Aspies to be entering the workplace.

So.... The prediction that social networking will be used extensively in the workplace, along with wikis, and blogs, may spell bad news for those on the spectrum.  Some companies (and not necessarily technology companies) are using these tools now.

On the one hand, younger people with autism do use the Internet.  Some have blogs, others have websites.  I know at least one person with Aspergers and one with PDD-NOS who are on Facebook.  This is on their terms. But what happens if these social "tools" become the norm and expectation for the world of work?

Unlike Bil, who has always worked in the sheltered workshop environment, others on the spectrum have been able to contribute in the "non-sheltered" world of work.  But contributing by joining Facebook like networks and interacting with others may not be a strength.  Then what?  Are they shut out of the World of 2020?

I can see the older people with autism, who may not have ever been able to learn to navigate present day online life, and have a lot of problem dealing with change, being shut out completely.  It's hard enough for some neurotypical people in their 50's or 60's to adopt to the change coming now.  I can't see Bil ever being able to do this.

Another way for "older" people to autism to be off the radar?

As Bil's advocate, I think about a lot of things.

The future....just some more food for thought.

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