In this letter to the editor, we comment on the ‘autism advantage’ – the idea that superior skills associated with autism (e.g. attention to detail) present a talent in employment – an example of which is a recent discussion by Austin and Pisano. We welcome advocacy that raises awareness around the strengths and capabilities of people with autism, and also the need to reform human resource management processes that disadvantage them. However, we are concerned that, by highlighting certain stereotypes (e.g. the ‘talented nerd lacking social graces’), the heterogeneity of autism may be overlooked and support needs downplayed. Furthermore, not appreciating individual differences might result in a misalignment between work-profile and employment, pressure to outperform peers without autism and a failure to appreciate the diverse interests of people with autism. We argue that an individual differences approach will prove more sustainable for improving long-term employment outcomes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: S.M.B. received research funding from DXC Technology. D.H. received research funding from DXC Technology, the Australian Government Department of Human Services and the Australian Government Department of Defence.
© The Author(s) 2018.
- autism advantage
- autism spectrum disorder
- individual differences
- workplace performance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology