Company Hires Adults With Autism to Test Software

CubeVia the Associated Press:

The software testers at Aspiritech are a collection of characters. Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people.This is the unusual workforce of a U.S. startup that specializes in finding software bugs by harnessing the talents of young adults with autism.

Traits that make great software testers — intense focus, comfort with repetition, memory for detail — also happen to be characteristics of autism. People with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, have normal to high intelligence and often are highly skilled with computers.

Aspiritech, a nonprofit in Highland Park, Ill., nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable: social awkwardness, poor eye contact, being easily overwhelmed. The company’s name plays on the words “Asperger’s,” ”spirit” and “technology.”

Read more here.

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  • JDLWTUA

    “we’re such angels for hiring people we can exploit really, really well.”

    • bujah

      As a relative of someone within the autism spectrum, finding employment can be described as difficult at best; especially with the current economic climate. A company making an effort to create and foster a positive work environment for such individuals is opportunity, not exploitation.

      • JD LWTUA

        Point taken.  Didn’t mean to be insensitive.  I understand that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, but I guess I still think it would be wrong of me to say that any employer-employee relationship is free of wage exploitation.  Also, the fact that they specifically hire those with Aspergers, not just any person who falls on the autism spectrum, sounds a little like exploitation disguised with a do-gooding mission statement.

  • JDLWTUA

    “we’re such angels for hiring people we can exploit really, really well.”

  • bujah

    As a relative of someone within the autism spectrum, finding employment can be described as difficult at best; especially with the current economic climate. A company making an effort to create and foster a positive work environment for such individuals is opportunity, not exploitation.

  • JD LWTUA

    Point taken.  Didn’t mean to be insensitive.  I understand that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, but I guess I still think it would be wrong of me to say that any employer-employee relationship is free of wage exploitation.  Also, the fact that they specifically hire those with Aspergers, not just any person who falls on the autism spectrum, sounds a little like exploitation disguised with a do-gooding mission statement.

  • JD LWTUA

    Point taken.  Didn’t mean to be insensitive.  I understand that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, but I guess I still think it would be wrong of me to say that any employer-employee relationship is free of wage exploitation.  Also, the fact that they specifically hire those with Aspergers, not just any person who falls on the autism spectrum, sounds a little like exploitation disguised with a do-gooding mission statement.