Company employs people with autism

November 30, 2013  13:02

Max Parker is a software analyst. He’s also autistic. Parker says that he never envisioned having a job like this, CBS News reports.

Roughly 75 percent of autistic adults are unemployed, in part because the brain disorder makes it difficult to interact with others. But many on the autism spectrum also have an uncanny ability to focus intensely on minute details -- perfect for the tedious work of hunting for glitches in computer software.

“This is not a charity,” says Chad Hahn, the CEO of MindSpark. “And our employees are good at what they do.”

“If you and I look at a set of instructions over and over again, I don’t know about you, but I would miss some things,” Hahn a software designer, says. “Max doesn’t miss things. He’s really good at it.”

“People with autism can zoom in on detail, with technical knowledge, with expertise, and zoom in, not be bothered by the larger picture and maybe find details that are wrong,” says Dr. Marcel Just, who studies autism at Carnegie Mellon University.

Max Parker is one of three autistic employees at MindSpark, and more are training in an on-site classroom.

“Think about how hard it’s been like for them all these years, where people have dismissed them and their abilities, and maybe overlooked what they could do or could be,” Hahn says. “They just needed a chance. They have abilities that are quite valuable. That should be unlocked somehow. And that’s all we’re trying to do here.”


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