Wednesday, October 12, 2011

is more than 100 grand to teach job interview skills to autistics worth it?

I see that everybody's favorite autism funding organization, autism speaks, has awarded nearly two million in grants to various research projects designed to help mitigate some of the challenges in life that those of us on the spectrum have. One common complaint of many affected by autism is the lack of funding for studies involving problems in adulthood. So one study in particular caught my eye.

Lindee Morgan, a psychologist in Florida, plans to study a social skills training protocol that deals with job interview techniques. On reading the last paragraph about the rationale of the study, it is unclear to me whether or not the study's purpose is to actually help autistics with their interviewing skills so they can more easily obtain employment:

Because this experimental treatment targets the job interview context, one aim is to evaluate whether ISC increases in targeted social communication skills, changes in adaptive behavior, and quality of life variables. Further positive changes in mental health status as a result of ISC will also be explored.

On reading this pedantically written paragraph, it is unclear to me what the purpose or rationale of this study is, period.

As has been previously mentioned, with the exception of the funding of Alex Plank's trashy autism talk TV videos and John Robison pocketing some of the cash from this endeavor, not a single person with autism, to the best of my knowledge, has ever had a paid job at autism speaks in any capacity. Gadfly wonders why more than one hundred grand could not be spent to employ some persons with autism in this stellar organization that claims to care so much about us rather than on this study with questionable and vague aims from reading the grant material on AS' website.

I concede that my expertise in most areas is limited to nonexistent. One subject I do have extensive knowledge in with nearly 28 years of actual experience, is interviewing and applying for jobs as an individual with an ASD. Though I managed to get some jobs where I was extensively interviewed, I often had a hard time due to body language, lack of eye contact and other issues. Also, the fact I had a bachelors degree in psychology and not pursuing a career in this area was also a liability that prospective employers sometimes commented on. My problems are probably not as overt on first blush as numerous others on the spectrum are. So, I was briefly able to "pass" for "a normal person".

At some jobs, the interview was not so important as assessing my ability to type for various data entry and other types of jobs where nimble fingers were an asset. In spite of my poor fine motor coordination in handwriting, I can type more than 80 words a minute and this helped. When I became more experienced in medical transcription and applied for jobs in that field, prospective employers scarcely interviewed me. They gave me tests, as someone's skill in MT is rather easy to assess to see whether or not they could make the cut before hiring them.

Upon being hired, getting the job was only half the battle. Keeping it was another story. After my problems (as said before not perceivable as first blush) came to the fore, such as funny movements, loud voice, inability to get along with some people, I was terminated from some jobs. Also, in spite of the testing process, my inability to later concentrate on the work and avoid making an excessive amount of careless errors cost me other jobs. My ability, or lack of it, in the interview process was certainly not a major factor in my employment problems.

I concede I can't speak for others on the spectrum completely but I suspect the situation is at least somewhat similar, if not identical, for many of them. Assuming this treatment successfully teaches them how to interview for a job, will they be able to keep a job after the interview? What about training for a job, such as teaching someone computer programming skills, plumbing, etc. I suspect that a number of the subjects involved in this study have no marketable skills or at least paid experience in any sort of profession that is in high demand. Therefore, they will be forced to look for unskilled work, such as a picker in a warehouse (my first job after college) or a ditch digger, etc, or any other minimum wage job you can think of.

I know from my experience that ironically enough, the unskilled jobs are sometimes the most difficult ones for a person on the spectrum to keep. After all, with more than 9% unemployment nationwide, including people who come to this country illegally from Mexico or other countries, the pool of unskilled labor is quite high and if an employer does not like someone due to behavior or poor work performance, they are easily replaced with someone else.

I wonder, for these reasons, if spending more than one hundred grand on a study to teach autistics job interview skills is money well spent. I am inclined to think not. Of course, there may be something that I am missing in this assessment.

Somehow, when I think of an organization that would give a man a half a million dollar grant who states that autism does not have the scientific status of a disease and that autistics are not dysfunctional only different and has a certain tenth grade dropout on their scientific advisory board, I am at least somewhat inclined to think this is another example of money poorly spent and a bad funding decision.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/the-walk-a-day-in-pictures/

And here are just some of the faces of the moronic parents raising and giving even more money to Autism Speaks. To label them suckers is putting it mildly.

Cube Angel said...

Hey Jonathan

With IT jobs like programming they all require that you have experience in multiple skill sets. What I was told was IT is the most difficult field to get into out of all the fields. Here is the thing. Some of the things you have described are not about autism.

A lot of folks are having major problems passing the interviews and obtaining jobs in their respective fields these days. A lot of these folks do not have disabilities and are having major problems as well. These are fresh graduates from college.

Jonathan, maybe it's time to start challenging the employer's unreasonable standards. If our society as it currently stands is the best way to go why is our economy in such shambles? Maybe it's time to start asking questions of our politicans and all of these employer top heads as well. In fact, maybe it is time to start questioning and challenging America's values and its extreme internal locust of control.

Do you have the guts to challenge and question the American values which the employers base their processes on? Personally, I think it is time to start challenging American values and the people who believe in them?

jonathan said...

@Cubed: You are correct that with nearly 10% unemployment nationwide it is tougher than ever to find jobs. This is particularly true if you have no paid experience in IT or any other field you can name. The graduates fresh out of college don't have the experience, so they are not skilled enough at programming or whatever to do a job to the employer's specifications. This is the hard cold truth and trying to bring about change by challenging an employer will be meaningless.

Cube Angel said...

Maybe you're correct and it is meaningless. Who says it has to have meaning at this moment in time? I don't think it is employers who should be challenged but America and the people's values which the employers values rest upon.

In ancient Athens they thought they made Socrates eat hemlock. The ancient athenians thought they won. Maybe for a time they did but I believe that western philosophy is based upon Socrates. Like him, I belief that life not examined is not worth living. In the end Socrates won. Sometimes survival is not the only way to win.

Cube Angel said...

Jonathan

These questions are mainly for the American People.

Let's say those of us on the spectrum truly need to be cured and you are 100% correct. Does this mean that the American People and American society is always correct in their beliefs and their traditions?

Why is it that when anyone ever challenges American beliefs they're always given the same nonsensical statements like "life is not fair, you're entitled to nothing, etc?

Is the majority of Americans always right and a miniority of Americans always wrong? If yes, my question is why?

Are there cases in which it is acceptable for a person to blame

a. blame an individual for anything that happens to them
b. blame a group of people for what happens to them.
c. blame society for what happens to them

If there are no exceptions to blaming why are there no exceptions to blaming? Why is blaming 100% wrong if it is wrong?

Why is that employers are always right and are never to be questioned and examined? Why is the employer never at fault in anyway shape or form whatsoever?

If a lot of college students can't get jobs when they graduate college then how is this system sound? How does anyone meet the employers standards in anyway shape or form? It does not matter if they're autistic or not.

What if it's possible that autism may be less of a factor than we think and a lot of people who can't meet society's standards and the employer's standards may not be disabled at all?

Could it not be possible that American society its beliefs and the way employers do things based upon these beliefs may be fault? Is American society always 100% correct? Why?

If those who are claimed as having a sense of entitlement, can't get a job, and it completely their fault then how was it their fault? What exactly did they do wrong and why was it wrong? What exactly should they have done step by step? Why are these steps the correct way to go? What exactly can they do now and what should they do now? Why? Exactly, what kind of social skills are the employers looking for and how were we supposed to learn that from school?

Why and how would anyone learn effective social skills from going to elementary,middle school and high school from the other children who go there?

jonathan said...

Cube that is an awful lot to ask all at once, but I'll do my best. No one really has any entitlements in the u.s.a. The constitution entitles to life liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness with the emphasis on pursuit. Some people are to blame due to bad judgment, drug addiction or other problems. Others with conditions such as autism are less to blame, but still no simplistic solution to help them.

Young persons fresh out of school, even out of college with somewhat marketable degrees, cannot expect to start out at the top. When I was first doing medical transcription I had to work at a piece rate of 6 cents a line where i had my work edited and I was making like $1.50 an hour just to learn the field. Persons can take internships, they can offer to volunteer at computer places where they could hone their skills in programming or tech things or what not. This is what people have to do to get up the ladder. It requires hard work and diligence. This is how a system of free enterprise works. It may not be a perfect system but's it's the best there is. Alternatively you can go to Marxist Russia or China Or Iran where things are far worse for the havenots than in the U.S.A.

Cube Angel said...

"Cube that is an awful lot to ask all at once, but I'll do my best. No one really has any entitlements in the u.s.a. The constitution entitles to life liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness with the emphasis on pursuit. "

Jonathan, I do not understand your response because from my perception it is inconsistent. It is possible I may be misunderstanding your response, First, you state "No one really has any entitlements in the u.s.a." and then you state "The constitution entitles to life liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness with the emphasis on pursuit."

This means you're stating that America has entitlements and does not have entitlements at the exact same time. Do we have these three things as entitlements, yes or no? Let's say we did. What happens if they contradict each other at different moments in time? For example, we have the typhoid mary case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoid_Mary

She claims her liberties were beign violated. They had to be violated in order to protect other people's lives.

Cube Angel said...

By these standards as well social security should not exist. By these standards as well Doherty and Best's son would have to earn their own living if Best and Doherty could not provide their sons a living and could not afford to provide permenant residental care.

Which rights are greater their rights to life since they can't take care of themselves at all or another person's property rights?

"Some people are to blame due to bad judgment, drug addiction or other problems.

Others with conditions such as autism are less to blame, but still no simplistic solution to help them. "

With bad judgement, I need to state some things if you do not mind.

I believe we as human beings all do have choices. Even when one decides not to make a choice they have already made a choice. I believe this is a tautology. Every choice a person makes has a different set of outcomes. There can be any number of outcomes that is 1 or greater. Each outcome can be positive or negative and lead to other outcomes. Each person makes a choices based upon what they truly know and understand. Can't a person's bad judgement lead to an excellent outcome overall for a group of people? Let's say person a is a drug dealer. Let's say he is actually with his drug money able to find a cure for cancer. He broke the law yes. Was selling drugs a good judgement call to make or a bad judgement call to make?

Cube Angel said...

What exactly is the meaning of bad judgement and what exactly is the meaning good judgement? Were people's drug addictions a good thing to exist in society that benefitted research that cured cancer?

"Young persons fresh out of school, even out of college with somewhat marketable degrees, cannot expect to start out at the top. "

First, what is the meaning of the word top and what is the meaning of the word bottom? What are the correct usages to the words bottom and top when it comes to employement?

"When I was first doing medical transcription I had to work at a piece rate of 6 cents a line where i had my work edited and I was making like $1.50 an hour just to learn the field."

There are things I do not understand.

1. How did you determine what the transcription hierarchy was and where the bottom and the top of it was and what was the correct usages to these words were?

2. How did you support yourself with this type of salary?

3. How was this legal? I thought we had a minimum wage unless either

a. It was similar to waiters and waitresses and how they did things

b. Minimum wage was lower during your time.

"Persons can take internships, they can offer to volunteer at computer places where they could hone their skills in programming or tech things or what not. This is what people have to do to get up the ladder."

Jonathan, are you serious? I literally did not know this. I was never told this when I went to college. What I was told is completely contrary to what you said here. I was told that it was the one and only requirement and I emphasize the phrase "the one and only" to get these types of jobs.

Cube Angel said...

I was told the bachleors degree was the very bottom. The media, the press, the educational system, and even my parents made that impression to me. Did I and others misunderstand what was communicated or was fraud committed against me and a lot of others as well? This also includes people who have no disabilities at all. If we all misunderstood what was presented how and why did we misunderstand and how do we prevent this from happening to anyone else ever again? If we were defrauded then I believe we are owed our money back and compensation for all of us to get back on track. Either way, I don't feel entitled to start at the top. I feel that I either misunderstood or I was misled. Either way, how was it my fault and not these external entities fault for either providing misleading or faulty information? By your logic it is Caveat Emptor, am I correct? If we used your logic here and applied it to other areas like the food industry this means if I ate bad meat it is not their problem. It is my problem and my responsibility instead and again by your own logic I should test my own meat for things like Samenella.

"It requires hard work and diligence. "

These are very ambigious and vague terms. What is the correct definition of hard work and dilligence? What kind of hard work do you mean and what kind of dillegence do you mean and what are the correct usages to these terms?


"This is how a system of free enterprise works. It may not be a perfect system but's it's the best there is.

Alternatively you can go to Marxist Russia or China Or Iran where things are far worse for the havenots than in the U.S.A."

What criteria is used to consider what the best is? What would be considered great? Again, what is the criteria? What scale are we going by? Let's make up an abstract scale and it is from -10 to 10.

Marxist Russia, china and Iran may have -9 to -8. What if our country is a -3 and -3 is the best in the world like you say. Maybe all of the countries in the world are not so great. Why couldn't country our country be best of the not so great countries in the world and truly none of our countries are so great? Again, it depends upon what criteria we are all going by?

During ancient Rome's time it was considered the best but we had major attrocities in this country like crucifixation, the gladiator games and other things. Yeah it was very powerful and the best in its time but how great was it truly.

Cube Angel said...

Here is one more question. Let's say you are correct and the cure is the way to go. Let's say a number of those who need the cure in the future can't afford the cure and some were to disfunctional to even know there was a cure. Correct me if I am wrong but by American standards and your standards we are not entitled to this cure as well since we have no entitlements? I'm sorry jonathan but yes our country could be the best but again maybe none of the countries in the world are really that great. Some are just worse than others at being not so great. Again, couldn't what I say be possible?

jonathan said...

Hi cube, I really don't have time or inclination to address every one of the multiple verbose comments, but i will address some points. You take me too literally when I mean entitlements, I could have chosen another word or maybe said that the only entitlements we constitutionally have in the u.s.a are life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. As far as social security is concerned, yes, there might as well be no social security and the government does not provide for those of us like connor doherty, sam best, and those of us who's autism is less pronounced but still can't work. I put $40,000 or more into social security and I have spent years trying to get that money back in the form of disability, but they spent it on the iraq war and morton gernsbacher's research instead of giving it to us. The same is true of people who reach retirement age, though I won't address all the problems with social security.

Since we don't have national health care in the u.s.a. I guess in the hypothetical case ofa cure being available, then no one who can't pay for it has a right to it. Of course, I am mystified by Barak Obama who would enact a national health policy, require everyone to buy into it and then appoint people to government posts and fund their research who oppose a cure for this horrible disabilty.

jonathan said...

Okay, also I guess you were curious about the legality of my working for sub minimum wage back in 1986. The reason for that is that minimum wage laws only apply to statutory employees and I was employed as an independent contractor and independent contractors are not required to be paid a minimum wage. Of course I was working in their office on their equipment so technically it was illegal for them to pay me as an IC. But I was glad to get the opportunity to gain some experience and training in the medical transcription field, though I was not able to work in it until a minimum retirement age.

Cube Angel said...

"I guess in the hypothetical case ofa cure being available, then no one who can't pay for it has a right to it."

Therein lies the problem. I'm sorry but I think there is something wrong with this picture. Constitutionally, this would be correct. It would technically violate someone's right to their property.

My question is this. When does the absolute inalienability of rights become a violation of these rights themselves? Isn't there something funamentally wrong with these inalienable rights that exist? What if some rights are greater than others? What if people's lives are way more important than their property? I'm sorry Jonathan when you look at the greater picture outside of cure vs neurodiversity debate what do you see.

I will tell you what I see. If I'm correct then it doesn't matter if the cure is the way to go or if neurodiversity is the way to go.

What if certain beliefs that the American have are holding certain things back like some wanting to be accepted and others wanting a cure?

You have said it yourself there are some who would not be able to get a cure if they could not afford it.

Those who believe in ND and those who believe in cure may not get what they need unless

a. people give out of the kindness of their own hearts

b. unless our inalienable rights are challenged based upon greater moral grounds. I believe our constitution is based upon them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development

I'm sorry but I believe a person's life is more precious than someone's property and liberty. I ask, if I'm wrong why am I wrong?

Job Interview Tips said...

Is the majority of Americans always right and a miniority of Americans always wrong? If yes, my question is why?

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