Skills of Adults with Autism Drive Career Opportunities
New research finds that adults on the autism spectrum are using their special interests to engage in specific fields of study and determine career paths.
Investigators believe the findings continue a shift away from perceiving strong interests as a negative and toward a perspective that recognizes the strengths and potential of these personal pursuits.
Researchers from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development published their findings in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health.
Studies have shown that people with autism often show intense interest in subjects like science, technology, and art. This special interests allow, for instance, a deep knowledge and appreciation of trains, mechanics, animals, or anime and cartoons.
This study examined the role that preferred interests play in adults with autism, both how they viewed their childhood interests, as well as how they have incorporated these interests into their current lives.
Study participants included 80 adults on the autism spectrum, ages 18-70, who completed a 29-question online survey about their preferred interests.
The researchers found that adults with autism have a positive view of preferred interests, both their childhood and current interests, and believe that these interests should be encouraged.