Startup company succeeds at hiring autistic adults

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by mysticrose, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    Startup company succeeds at hiring autistic adults


    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — The software testers at Aspiritech are a collection of characters. Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people.

    This is the unusual workforce of a U.S. startup that specializes in finding software bugs by harnessing the talents of young adults with autism.

    Traits that make great software testers — intense focus, comfort with repetition, memory for detail — also happen to be characteristics of autism. People with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, have normal to high intelligence and often are highly skilled with computers.

    Aspiritech, a nonprofit in Highland Park, Ill., nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable: social awkwardness, poor eye contact, being easily overwhelmed. The company's name plays on the words "Asperger's," ''spirit" and "technology."

    Clients, nine companies in Aspiritech's first two years, have been pleased

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap...I3p3Nw?docId=ce11350de6ad47ff8677f857855a554a
     
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  3. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    Asperger's syndrome gets in way of work? Not at this startup


    Think Asperger's syndrome makes it impossible to hold down a job? Meet the software testers at a new U.S. startup: Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people.

    PICTURES - Autism: 24 signs your child is at risk

    And they all have the mild form of autism known as Asperger's syndrome.

    Turns out, traits that make great software testers - intense focus, comfort with repetition, and memory for detail - also happen to be characteristics of autism.

    Aspiritech, a nonprofit in Highland Park, Ill., nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable: social awkwardness, poor eye contact, being easily overwhelmed. The company's name is a play on the words "Asperger's," "spirit" and "technology."

    After their 32-year-old autistic son, Oran, was fired from a job bagging groceries, Moshe and Brenda Weitzberg founded Aspiritech. "He went from failing at bagging groceries to being one of the best software testers on our team," said Brenda Weitzberg.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20109394-10391704.html
     
  4. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    Aspiritech, Chicago Nonprofit, Employs Solely Adults With Autism

    Finding a job when the unemployment rate hits 9.1 percent is challenging enough, but one Chicago-based nonprofit understands how much more difficult the quest becomes for adults with autism, the Associated Press reports.

    Aspiritech hires autistic individuals to complete software-testing tasks, since they often possess unique characteristics--such as paying close attention to detail--that make them prime candidates for such work.

    "Adults on the autism spectrum, especially in the high functioning area, can do a phenomenal job at work," Marc Lazar, the company's autism specialist, told the AP. "They have an amazing amount of talent and ability and that's really been going unnoticed for a long time."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/chicago-nonprofit-aspirit_n_974101.html
     
  5. tlcya

    tlcya Well-Known Member

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    This made me smile. I like this company! Talk about seeing outside the box. Taking those qualities that some may consider cons and using them as big pros. Nicely done.
     
  6. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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  7. justbeachy

    justbeachy "It's good to see me, isn't it? No need to respond

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    What a wonderful company!!
     
  8. ScorpRising

    ScorpRising To thine ownself be true

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    This made my day. Thank you for sharing!
     
  9. Derek

    Derek New Member

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    As a high-functioning autistic young man myself I was delighted to read this story. Thank you mysticrose.
     
  10. drip~drop

    drip~drop kiss a fuzzie

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    Finally.....something nice about my home town!:woohoo:
     
  11. DollyPardonMe

    DollyPardonMe New Member

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    It's nice to know that if you have a child that falls within the autism spectrum things don't have to look so dismal in the future. This gives me hope!
     

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