The Full Story
Autism is not an illness or disease, but a different way of thinking and processing information. More than one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means it affects people in different ways. Some common challenges that autistic people may face are:
Autism can also bring strengths and abilities, such as having a good memory, being creative, honest, loyal or passionate about a topic. Autistic people can live fulfilling and independent lives with the right support and understanding from others. Getting a diagnosis of autism can help autistic people and their families access the support they need and learn more about themselves.
Working in the Technology Industry with Autism
There are several benefits of autism in the workplace in technology company. Some of them are:
Autistic characteristics align exceptionally with predictable and rule-based professions such as software engineering, data analysis, quality assurance, etc
People with autism bring a different perspective to a company’s innovation process as they can see patterns, details, and solutions that others may miss
Individuals with autism tend to be more loyal to their companies and job hop significantly less than neurotypical employees which reduces turnover costs and increases retention rates
Companies that hire individuals with autism tend to contain more productive workforces as they can benefit from the curiosity, honesty, focus, and tenacity of autistic employees
Some examples of technology companies that have autism hiring programs or initiatives are Microsoft, Dell, SAP, IBM, and Ultranauts
One of these programs is the Microsoft Neurodiversity Hiring Program, which seeks to attract talented neurodivergent candidates and provide them with the training and support needed for career growth and success. Through this program, applicants engage in an extended interview process that focuses on workability, interview preparation, and skill assessment. As part of the skills assessment, candidates use Minecraft worlds to work together as a team. This allows them to showcase their unique talents and abilities in a creative and collaborative way.
Another initiative is the Microsoft Garage, which is a program that gives employees and interns the opportunity to work on innovative projects that are not part of their regular work. In 2018, a Microsoft Garage intern team in Vancouver built features to make Minecraft accessible to more audiences, like the autism community. They added options to customize the game’s sounds, visuals, and controls to suit different preferences and needs. They also created a guide for parents and educators on how to use Minecraft as a learning tool for autistic children.
These are some examples of how Minecraft and Microsoft are working together to make the world more autism friendly and inclusive. If you are interested in learning more about these programs or applying for a job at Microsoft, you can visit their websites below:
Microsoft Neurodiversity Hiring Program: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/inside-microsoft/cross-disability/neurodiversityhiring
Microsoft Garage: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/garage/