Career Development For Special Populations: Asperger Syndrome

To get started, I became very enthusiastic about Asperger Syndrome when I was teaching high school. Among my students had been identified as having Asperger Syndrome (AS) and got major issues with socialization and communication. Since this was his this past year of High School, I considered what his next thing would be after graduation and what advice (if any) he was getting from the school Guidance Counsellor when it comes to work development.

Asperger Symptoms is grouped as a low profile impairment and grouped under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders. This research newspaper is a compilation of characteristics of Asperger Symptoms, how this impacts the workforce, romantic relationship to work theorists, and the importance of job instructors/career counsellors.


Asperger syndrome (AS) is thought as a developmental disorder that involves how the information is processed in the mind. It is called "high-functioning autism, " and it is one of five pervasive developmental disorders known as the Autism Spectrum Disorders (NIMH, 2006). Based on the Autism Society of Canada, about 15 in 10, 000 Canadians have AS and it is the most effective growing developmental disorder in North America. Asperger syndrome can also be classified as a 'concealed disability' for the reason that it is impossible in order to that someone gets the condition of their appearances alone. In comparison to other styles of autism, people with Asperger Symptoms have average or above average brains. It can also be argued that with the right amount of encouragement and proper support systems, people with Asperger symptoms can live very significant, self-employed lives (National Autistic Modern culture, 2009).

People with Asperger Symptoms routinely have extreme public deficits (Klin et al. , 2000). Quite often, a person with AS can show an array of behaviours and public skills, but common characteristics include difficulty in expressing emotions or emotions, growing friendships, and an failure to understand communal rules and body gestures. People with Asperger Syndrome are occasionally self-described outsider who may be unable to participate in normal social relationships because they simply lack the skills needed. Though companionship is required, frustration could occur when endeavoring to build interactions, likely because of failed makes an attempt in the past (Klin et al. , 2000). Also, gross motor unit skills, including pose and gait, and fine motor unit skills such as manual dexterity may be under-developed, making people with Asperger Syndrome appear clumsy or literally uncomfortable (Klin et al. , 2000). Since there is substantial deviation across people with regard to amount of impairment in these areas, even moderate deficits can have a substantial impact on psychosocial development (K. K Higgins et al, 2008).

In respect to job development, the public and communication problems inherent in Aspergers create troubles in job hunting and in sustaining long-term occupation. Common social and communication problems experienced by a person with AS include: difficulty preserving conversations, inability to comprehend simple instructions and a need for a structured regimen. Also, they could experience problems understanding the emotions of co-workers, and for that reason, may behave inappropriately. A few of these symptoms may create misunderstandings with co-workers and make it difficult for employees with Concerning match the work place environment.

However, with this being said, people with Asperger's Syndrome can add greatly with their jobs and professions. Individuals with AS tend to be very smart, however they lack the abilities required to hold employment. (K. K, Higgins et al. , 2008). Many AS adults have the average to above average intelligence and for this reason they are simply more than capable of being beneficial to the working environment. They might not exactly have the ability to express themselves verbally as well as others, and may have a problem with the cultural aspect, but much acknowledgement can get to their effort and work. Their precision and diligence lends itself to getting the job done right and allowing for hardly any errors. (K. K Higgins et al, 2008).

In this article "School-to-work change and Aspergers Syndrome, Hendricks and Wehman (2009) details how Asperger Syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder seen as a mainly of underdeveloped public and communication skills. As mentioned in this specific article, Asperger Syndrome influences the public development of a person. An indivual was AS can find it difficult to keep proper eye connection with another individual(s) during chat. It can be very difficult to allow them to differentiate between sarcasm and regular speaking, and reading nonverbal cues given off by others can be considered a challenge. Another attribute of Asperger syndrome is the strong focus that people with the symptoms can bring to very specific hobbies or topics. This may even be accompanied by continuous speaking on s particular subject matter without even noticing the other person's boredom or need to go someplace. Each one of these characteristics can make an individual feel uneasy in public situations, as well as make it extremely difficult to socialize within the work area (Hendricks and Wehman, 2009).

For an individual with AS, learning a fresh job in the task push is not the situation; relating to others is the true issue. Due to these debilitating interpersonal skills deficits; they are unable to manoeuvre social situations or understand theory of brain (Hendricks and Wehman, 2009). The social communication impairments can interfere with both job attainment and job retention. For instance, most employment adjustments require an interview prior to being chosen for employment, which task alone entails these critical skills. With no needed non-verbal and verbal cultural communication skills to appropriately interview for a job, individuals with AS will be improbable to secure work (Hendricks and Wehman, 2009).

As mentioned above, impaired sociable skills are a core feature of Asperger Syndrome and while people with AS have conserved cognitive functioning; their social issues have an effect on every area of academic, mental and public development (Rao et al. , 2008). The necessity for cultural skills training (SST) intervention is obviously warranted for folks with AS. The next two articles have a closer go through the SST interventions available for people with AS: "Social Skills Involvement for Children with Asperger Syndrome or High Performing Autism: AN ASSESSMENT and Recommendations" by Rao et al. (2008) and "Social Skills Training for Children with Asperger Symptoms and High Working Autism by Tse et al. " (2007). These SST interventions should be researched and considered by profession counsellors/job mentors when helping people with Asperger Symptoms.

A shared idea by both authors, that SST interventions are crucial and worthwhile for individuals with AS, presents a distributed theoretical perspective on successful individual development. Both authors realize the value of sociable skills for individuals with AS because without it they will struggle in all areas of life. Although these authors are not handling SST interventions for the purpose of job development and success specifically, their work does indeed lend itself to this issue. Persons with disabilities are usually confronted with a host of career development issues (Nyles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2005). One such issue is the introduction of cultural/interpersonal skills, which evidently relates to people with AS. This problem, like the others, requires specific career development interventions to help the profession development of people with disabilities (Nyles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2005). These SST interventions mentioned in the above articles are very important because they show how SST interventions can help people with Concerning change their self-concepts and concern their emotional intellect (EQ). Most importantly, the articles mentioned previously validate the belief that social skills are necessary for life as well as profession success.


Individuals with Asperger Syndrome can find it very hard transitioning from school to the labor force and because of this the grade of life for young adults with Asperger syndrome can quickly diminish. Leaving school and possibly their homes, will lead to the abrupt end of normalcy and words and job problems can be made before the individual has even inserted the workplace for the very first time. With this thought, job training and life skills programs created for people who have Asperger Syndrome are great ways to help a person move from institution to work and unbiased living. These programs talk about specific skills that are necessary for work, create job environment discussion, and offer strategies on how to cope with common workplace problems. Some of the programs require the person to live on the premises and steadily adjust to self-employed living and occupation. Hendricks and Wehman's (2009) article "School-to-work changeover and Asperger Syndrome" emphasise how the transition from school services to adulthood can be specifically problematic for many adolescence with autism disorders. Although some people with AS have the ability to successfully transition, the majority are faced with significant road blocks in multiple areas as they try to discuss their way into college, work, community participations and indie living, Hendricks and Wehman's (2009) article also includes a review of research related to the transition from institution to adulthood for junior with AS in the regions of educations, work, community living and community integration. They say that it's these key areas of the transition process that are necessary for success in adulthood (Hendricks & Wehman. , 2009). Community participation is also a critical component of the transition planning process. They discuss how planning must require the whole community where the person hopes to take part after high school and might include numerous activities, organizations, companies and organizations. Finally, Hendricks and Wehman (2009) fine detail the relation between community involvement and reduced amount of interpersonal skills deficits. They state that "community participation and includes productive proposal in these activities' but, more importantly, encompasses the required goal of integration into social networks and romance development" (Hendricks & Wehman. , 2009, p. 82).

WORKPLACE Challenges:

In 2004, only a decade after Asperger Syndrome became accepted as its split disorder in the DSM, Karen Hurlbutt and Lynn Chalmers printed articles titled, 'Work and Individuals with Asperger'. In this article, Hurlbutt and Chalmers (2004) conducted a report to determine if there have been certain overlapping factors which inspired individuals with AS in the workplace. They concluded that individuals with Asperger may find employment but possessed a hard time staying applied. Often, work is terminated credited to communication problems between your employer or coworkers and the staff. Adults with Normally have a difficult time understanding interpersonal cues and non-verbal terms we well as interpreting other's emotions. Also theory of brain is an enormous problem for they since there's a block which will not allow them to understand other people's perspectives.

Clearly, research as shown that the best difficulties confronted by individuals with AS in the workplace seem to be to emerge from the deficits in communal and communication skills. These interpersonal communication impairments can interfere with both job attainment and job retention. For instance, most employment options require an interview prior to being appointed for employment, and this task by themselves could be very challenging for the individual with AS. Without the needed non-verbal and verbal interpersonal communication skills to appropriately interview for a job, individuals with AS will be improbable to secure job (K. K. Higgins et al. , 2008). Hurlbutt and Chalmers (2004) indicated that recurrent unemployment rates of people with AS occur from complications in "the communal aspect of work however, not with actual job tasks" (p. 218). Therefore, even when a person with AS gets the requisite job skills, can successfully complete a job interview, and gets into the workforce, the social conversation aspects of employment often create obstacles to job retention and career advancement. Deficits in these areas can also undermine the individual's potential to stick to workplaces guidelines/standards, work effectively with co-workers/supervisors, and react appropriately to feedback.

Many people with AS also face problems in the workplace because of the shame associated using their impairment and the associated negative perceptions with their co-workers and superiors. Issues that will probably arise in the working environment include greater than usual inclination for the employee with Asperger syndrome to lose his / her temper, to be viewed by fellow workers as arrogant, have troubles requesting help and being assertive. In addition, a lot of people with Asperger syndrome have a sensory system that means it is difficult to cope with everyday workplace sensations, such as office chatter or flickering roof lights (Meyer, 2001).

Furthermore, the peculiar behaviours of an co-worker with AS can be perceived as a risk to the sociable weather of the place of work. For instance, co-workers may feel uncomfortable if the individual with AS violates their personal space or workshop and supervisors may lose their endurance with the worker because he or she appears to lack understanding about common communal expectations in the workplace. These reactions will probably create a work place where the specific with AS does not feel welcome or, in the extreme circumstances, seems unsafe (Meyer, 2001). Symptoms of depression and stress can be an especially concerning result of such negative encounters face to face (Hurlbutt and Chalmers, 2004). Absolutely, these workplace challenges have to be addressed, and works with should be placed into destination to help aid both AS person and their co-workers. Compassion, understanding and being proficient in this disability is key to success at work.


To begin, in 1951, Donald Super described vocational information as "the process of aiding a person to build up and accept an integrated and sufficient picture of himself and of his role in the world of work, to test this idea against reality and to convert it into fact, with satisfaction to himself and modern culture" (Herr, Cramer, Niles, 2004). His assumption that both personal needs, worth and intelligence as well as socio economic and ethnic variables (overall economy, family, institution, community, labour market) help an individual to develop both an occupational and do it yourself. Relating vocational success to individuals with AS, their insufficient interpersonal competence and self-esteem may also become a barrier to vocational opportunities (Tse et al. , 2007). Individuals living with Asperger Symptoms face lots of unique obstacles as it pertains to their vocational success. Because this developmental impairment is characterized by communal and communicative deficits including problems interpreting communal cues, inflexibility and irritation with change, and difficulty adapting to new duties and regimens (Muller et al. , 2003), the sociable implications of the job site place great needs on individuals with Asperger Symptoms, and can be a heavy determinant of on-going or future work.

Historically, it appears that there has been a good deal research encompassing educational support needs of children with Asperger Syndrome; however, few studies have focused on the vocational characteristics of appearing individuals with AS and the abilities they have to thrive at work. 'Meeting the Vocational Support Needs of Individuals with Asperger Symptoms along with other Autism Spectrum Disabilities' by Muller et al. (2003) investigated the perspectives of individuals with AS, and sought strategies for enhancing vocational positioning and job-retention services for folks in this demographic. Primarily the researchers targeted to gather information regarding the real-world employment experience of individuals with AS; their findings were split into three major categories like the overview of negative and positive experiences, major hurdles for successful work, and tips for appropriate aids. One very helpful section described 'ASD-specific works with', especially the necessity for properly educated Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellors. The members discovered four major targets from these pros; assistance with the work search process, on-site job-coaching, facilitation of sociable connections, and mentoring services (Muller et al. 2003, p. 170).

Considering the vocational complications experienced by individuals living with AS, their overall job development is greatly impacted. As someone's career design is influenced by decision making style, prices, life-roles and self-concepts; the cultural and communicative characteristics of AS are also grand indicators. Resultant dissatisfaction and recognized failure in the form of job damage and un-employment can cause great amounts of stress. The sort of work in which we engage is a determinant of self-image, and when uncontrollable internal factors impact work-success no matter credentials and work ethic, the results can be devastating, hence the value of vocational support and research in the region. (K. K. Higgins et al. , 291).

It is predicted that only 10 per cent of people with Asperger syndrome obtain support at the interview stage and around 20 % receive some kind of specialist support when in work (Beardon and Edmonds, 2007). In general, it is commonly the truth that parents with Asperger syndrome suffer from a lack of understanding, support, esteem and appropriate services in the work domain name (Beardon and Edmonds, 2007). It is important the profession counsellors understand the role of a job mentor- as it may be a viable option for some with AS. Also, a job coach should work very meticulously with career counsellors to ensure optimal success in the workplace.

'Communication Works with by Job Coaches of individuals with Developmental Disabilities' is a research analysis completed in connection to job supports for folks with AS. D'Agostino and Cascella (2008) considered job coaches' knowledge bottom part with regards to quality communication indications. The participant bottom part for this research contains thirty-six job coaches whom were utilized among older children and people with developmental disabilities (including Autism Spectrum Disorders so that as). Specifically, the analysts used a questionnaire that would identify job mentors' knowledge and experience with communication aids and assessment tools. The information collected in this study revealed a number of major results. Job mentors reported a high-degree of prior trained in specific communication interventions, they could effectively define many ideas and conditions associated with communication support, and were overall knowledgeable about communication and communication holds (D'Agostino and Cascella 2008). This article proved that job coaches were very successful with communication interventions and helps given to people with disabilities lead to a great potential for success.

"Career counselling and information can move with the changes to produce a higher difference in people's life by assisting them to hook up with the parts of their own lives and hook up with others in community for the normal good" (Hansen, 2001). With this thought, a job mentor can be especially helpful to the individual with Much like determining and remedying difficult behaviours associated with the disorder such as interacting inappropriately with co-workers, misinterpreting and responding to social cues, responding to supervision within an unacceptable manner, lack of ability to conduct satisfactory self assessments of one's job performance and unintentionally violating unspoken work norms and guidelines (K. K. Higgins et al. , 296). Also, the idea of a job coach could be very beneficial because they could support the individual with AS until the employee begins to develop natural skills face to face independently.

Like job instructors, "career counselors [also] have a responsibility to help clients free themselves from negative attitudes, irrational beliefs, information deficits and low self-esteem" (Herr, Cramer, & Niles, 2004). It's understandable that competent profession counsellors must be good listeners, understanding, empathic towards their customer and prepared and in a position to develop trusting associations. It is important for job counsellors to remember that a person of the defining characteristics of AS is the occurrence of marked zero social interactions, communication, and behaviours and due to this characteristic, people with AS tend to be viewed by others as peculiar, or peculiar. While people with AS may be bodily indistinguishable off their peers and have similar intellectual functions, deficits in sociable interaction, behavior, and communication often lead to the perceptions these individuals are "loners. " This is why it is rather imperative for job counsellors to show patience and understanding of this impairment.

Also, Prager & Freeman (1979) make clear that "degree of aspiration is also frequently related to self-esteem, with folks of higher aspiration also individuals of higher self-esteem" (Herr et al. , 2004, p. 177). Therefore, many youths with AS have few, if any, important peer relationships which might have an effect on self-concept and esteem. Again, it is essential to reiterate the importance for job counsellors to show patience, understanding, and accepting with the AS consumer. . . while trying to raise the individuals self esteem. Certainly, the capability to realize why others do what they do and think the way they do is undoubtedly one of, if not the most, important traits a job counsellor should have when working with a person with AS. Given the right support and encouragement from a career counsellor, it is believed that individuals with Asperger syndrome are capable of negotiating key employment-related public situations, such as job interviews, team working, and the broader public conventions of work organisations (Attwood, 2007).

"Essential to an activity that integrates career and personal counselling is the capability to determine clients' differing mental health needs and understand how specific occupations and functions accomplish or frustrate various needs" (Manuele-Adkins, 1992). Supporting an individual with Asperger Symptoms involves working on their particular passions, strengths and skills, while possibly preventing jobs that entail major levels of social discussion. Notably, profession counsellors should recognize that one of the best ways for job seekers with the problem to increase their chances for successful job is to prepare for work and look for jobs with employers that are educated about Asperger Syndrome. Autism and Asperger support organizations can help job hunters prepare for work life and find employers who are delicate to their needs. Profession counsellors could work with these organizations if indeed they need extra holds or resources on this disability.


Overall, nearly all influential career development theories recognize the large role that social and self consciousness play for successful career development. The next section will discuss how Holland's and Gottfredson's ideas apply to individuals with AS.


Holland's theory (as cited in Herr, Cramer & Niles, 2004, p. 212) "contends that individual behavior is a function of the connections between one's personality and environment which choice behaviour can be an appearance of personality". Holland's theory of 'Person-Environment Connections' is also suitable to specific with AS, specifically the consideration of 'The Social Environment'. In many regards the components of the sociable environment, especially the actions that inform, develop, and enlighten should be explored by support personnel and employers - allowing them to better accommodate personnel with AS. As individuals with AS aspire to be successful vocationally in both work-skill and social-skill; recognition, tolerance, and support must be there to assist their vocational endeavours. This paired with on-going support increase career rates, and job satisfaction for folks with AS (Herr, Cramer & Niles, 2004).

To achieve congruence in future employment, according to Holland individuals must use self-reflection to comprehend their personality type so that they can make the best decision about which kind of environment they feel would be suitable to them. Holland bases his theory on two values. To get started he believes that individuals search for jobs that will allow them to use their skills and ability. It is known that individuals with AS are very capable employees when their skills are harmonized to their occupation. Second in Holland's theory is that there is a strong conversation between personality and environment which in turn affects behaviour. This must be considered for folks with AS since they must consider occupations in which they'll not be required to socialize frequently. It is very important for counsellors to understand the importance of congruence between the environment and the personality of the AS specific in an effort to reduce any problems which may arise in work conditions (Herr, Cramer & Niles, 2004).


One of the major findings in the article 'Occupation and People with Asperger Syndrome' by Karen Hurlbutt and Lynn Chalmers (2004) was that AS individuals had difficulty finding work in their section of speciality and are therefore typically underemployed. This can be associated with Gottfredson's theory of compromise for the reason that individuals were diminishing on their goals and settling for occupations that these were over-qualified. Gottfredson believes that it's important for people to comprehend their abilities and also to be aware that they have many options and that they shouldn't have to bargain. Individuals with AS have a great amount of self-awareness in regards of the aids they might need. However, in connection to theories recommended by Gottfredson - these individuals may succumb to circumscription and illegitimate comprise founded upon supportable vocational issues. Both of these factors occur normally throughout career development, but also for someone with AS, having to avoid a specific field or aspiration job may be considered a result of cultural pressures and prospects rather than lack of probable, brains, or situational realities (Herr, Cramer & Niles, 2004).


The challenges experienced by individuals living with AS can be staggering, but after a while recognition is grows and support become more effective. Certainly, studies will are different in perspective and depth, however the overall process is a step towards essential accommodation. At a time when profession development research workers pay little focus on the career experiences of persons with disabilities (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2005), the task of researchers talked about in this newspaper is crucial. Due to the fact 18. 7% of Us citizens between the age ranges of 15-64 have a disability (Nile & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2005), the task of the individuals is not only crucial for folks with AS but for the future of our labor force.

People with Asperger's Symptoms have every to equal treatment at work. They cannot be discriminated against because of their differences. With extended hard work and help from qualified job coaches/career counsellors, a person with AS can lead a highly successful life. The end result is that Asperger Syndrome is a disorder which should not be considered a barrier to having a good career. Hopefully with future exploration of former and present research, supports will develop and become applied so that folks living with AS will satisfy their vocational probable.

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