Autism spectrum disorder
is a lifelong developmental disabilitythat is often misunderstood, thanks, inpart, to how it’s wrongly depicted onTV and in movies. Another reason isthe wide range of symptoms and theirseverity, says Sharon Nagel, a socialworker at The Ability Hub, a Calgaryagency whose goal is to improve thequality of life for youth and adultswith ASD.
“If you know one person withautism, you know one person withautism,” says Nagel. The symptoms ofASD—which can include odd actions
People with autism can work
Key is the right job, support and employer
and trouble talking and connectingwith people—vary, affecting anyonewith ASD in different ways.
Some people may think people withASD are not capable of fitting into theworkplace, but many can.
“They’re a little bit different.
People think they’re difficult and
unmanageable, but people with ASD
are capable of learning the skills
needed to work,” says Nagel. “They
need and want opportunities as much
The Ability Hub has a successful
work training program at its A Little
Somethin’ Cafe at the University of
Calgary’s Child Development Centre.
Participants write a resume, areinterviewed and learn on the job towork with customers and run the cafe.
Six of the program’s graduates nowwork there part time. One of them isSebastian, 23, who is proof that withthe right job and support and anunderstanding employer, some peoplewith autism can enjoy the rewards ofworking.
“It’s been a pretty good experience,”says Sebastian, adding he’s much morecomfortable talking to people since he
Sebastian is proof that people with autism spectrum disorder can enjoy the rewards of working.