I've previously written about Ari Ne'eman, an individual in his early 20s who has never had paid employment. In spite of his total lack of experience working, he seems to feel qualified to give input on solving the problems of unemployment among persons with autism.
As I mentioned before, one of Ne'eman's solutions was to eliminate social pleasantry as a hiring criteria or use it to evaluate an individual's work performance. Any individual who has spent even the briefest time in any workplace knows having good social skills is necessary to be and stay employed. No employer or fellow co-workers are going to overlook poor social skills and be patient with an autistic person who shouts at them, makes inappropriate comments or gropes women in the workplace. As John Robison pointed out in the comments section, no amount of legislation is ever going to change this.
It seems that Mr. Ne'eman is at it again, giving a presentation at the autism works conference on how people with autism can get and keep jobs.
It appears, in spite of my blog post, he has not given up on this idea. He presents a concept he refers to as "social architecture", borrowing from the Americans with Disabilities Act. The analogy he uses is the legal requirement that ramps be required for persons who use wheel chairs and in the same vein, autistics poor social skills can be accommodated in the workplace.
However, this apples to hurricanes analogy indeed falls flat. Social skills aren't walking and mobility. There is no way that the autistics' faux pas can be accommodated for in the workplace as mentioned above. Ne'eman seems quite vague in how this can be done. He does not seem to provide any specific analogy for wheel chair ramps, because there isn't one. There is no treatment that can mitigate the persons social skills. All the wishful thinking in the world on Ne'eman's part isn't going to make society overlook them.
Another issue, is that lack of social ability is probably not the largest factor in an autistics' inability to obtain employment. The impairments that prevented me from concentrating on work also lead to my termination from various positions. The fact that I and others like myself are too impaired to get adequate education and training for most jobs is yet another major issue. Ne'eman and other members of ASAN with virtually no work experience don't address these issues at all in their programs to help autistics find and keep jobs.
Ne'eman is also developing a resume bank designed for college graduates on the spectrum. However, I wonder about the percentage of autistics who actually graduate college with a four year degree. I strongly suspect it's quite low. Even for those high-functioning enough to obtain this education, there may not be much on a resume that is of use as most of them are quite young and don't have much experience in the career they're trying to pursue. Ne'eman is approaching a variety of private firms and attempting to address the issues of social barriers---the only comment I have is good luck in that endeavor.
Also, the mortgage company Freddie Mac has apparently entered into an agreement with ASAN to provide internships for those on the spectrum, Interestingly, Ne'eman is claiming these internships are paid positions, which seems odd as usually interns are people who volunteer in order to get experience.
It's interesting the neurodiversity movement would pick an organization that with its encouragement of subprime interest loans to persons who could never afford houses likely helped caused the largest economic crisis since the great depression. This organization (along with its sister Fannie Mae)went broke and cost the taxpayers more than 170 billion bucks in a bailout that has never been paid back. Gee, ASAN, you sure now how to pick a winner. I suspect an association with Freddie mac would be a liability on someone's resume, not an asset as Ne'eman is claiming, though I suppose I might be wrong about that.
As an individual on the spectrum who had great difficulty in the workplace, I resent Ne'eman discussing issues which he himself has no personal experience or knowlege. I don't believe it's productive for individuals to put up a conference offering simplistic solutions to real and hard problems.
I wish Ne'eman would go out and get a real job and actually get some life experience and work experience before trying to propose remedies.