I appeal to all readers of this article to circulate it as widely as possible. It proposes the creation of employment for High Functioning Autistic (HFA) young people in a natural way, supplementing the institutions we already have and leveraging their resources. An estimated 300,000 people in US are HFAs. Why not rescue their gifts and talents to bring happiness and create wealth in our society?
What is a High Functioning Autism disorder?
This is the WebMD definition
High-functioning autism (HFA) is at one end of the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Signs and symptoms are less severe than with other forms of autism. In fact, a person with high-functioning autism usually has average or above-average intelligence.
Unlike people with other forms of autism, people with high-functioning autism want to be involved with others. They simply don't know how to go about it. As a result, they may be teased and often feel like social outcasts. The unwanted social isolation can lead to anxiety and depression.
What we all need to get a job
- An education to acquire skills that are in demand and lead to much better paid jobs
- A network of people they know who can provide references and recommendations
- Connections with many people already employed and who can provide inside information and do some door openings
- Mentors, who can make our career grow
- Reach independence, not to depend on one employer only
HFA candidates, just as mainstream candidates, must have the door open to these opportunities
Proposed employment plan for HFA young people
Lets re-list from above what we need to create jobs for HFA people.
- An education
- A network of people
- Connections with many people already employed
- Reach a financial and dignified independence
Here is a picture: we tap huge and highly effective teaching and mentoring resources already existing, but dormant.
|Fig. 2: Leveraging HFA students to attend higher education with the help of tutors recruited from the student population|
At Sierra College we pay the tutors with funds from Alta California. But to accelerate the process, we need an organization to raise funds to pay HFA tutor salaries. The tutors must be fellow students.
When these students graduate and get jobs in corporate America, they act as HFA champion advocates inside the companies .They will part of the network of each HFA job seeker. They are ideal door openers for the former HFA students they helped as students. Thy know how to make them productive
We call this project, The New Dandelion. TND will not employ tutors. They will approach each educational institution to make a case for accepting HFA students and create a plan. The local management of the tutors will be handled by the higher education school via specialized contractors. In Sierra College Progressive Employment manages the tutors
For the system to work, every HFA needs a mentor in the companies they join. and if for some reason the young HFA does not feel at ease in a job, there is a chance to appeal to the network of former tutors and find a more suitable job.
Once they reach a critical mass, the former tutors will change for good the entire fabric of corporate attitudes towards HFAs
A HFA candidate will not pass interviews designed for mainstream candidates. We suggest to replace the interview process with a good presentation The hired HFA should have at the beginning a Facilitator. This could be a former tutor, or an organization like Progressive Employment
Can we make it reality?
Absolutely! The New Dandelion (TND) uncovers precious resources in our 11,000 higher education institutions from US alone. There is no need to create gargantuan organizations of tens of thousands of employees. TND is lean and can be replicated easily in US and overseas
I welcome any ideas on how to take this plan off the ground. Please email me miha dot ahronovitz at ahrono dot com