Monday, March 25, 2013

has autism speaks hired its first autistic employee?

For a long time now, I've complained about the fact that autism speaks advocates that businesses hire autistics, but as far as I've known, has never hired an autistic person as a paid employee to work in their organization.  It would appear that this has recently changed.  I must say, if Kerry Magro is a paid employee in their organization, I'm gratified.

His official title is "Social Marketing Coordinator".  I'm trying to figure out what a social marketing coordinator does.  Mr. Magro, in the post, is quite vague about what his job entails.  I'm rather curious.

Magro is an individual I'm already somewhat familiar with as he has posted not infrequently on autism speaks' web pages and blogs.  He's been described as an "autism speaks staffer", though it was unclear to me just what specifically his position was with autism speaks, what he did for them besides write a few blog posts and whether this was a paid position or not.  A couple of years ago I wrote a previous blog post where I took Mr. Magro to task for recommending there be affirmative action for autistics in the workplace and autism speaks publishing this on their blog when they had apparently never hired an autistic employee.

The post states that Magro was involved in some sort of employment think tank that autism speaks was conducting.  I have to wonder about the credibility of someone quite young, barely out of college, who as far as I could tell  has never worked before, being included in an endeavor like this.  Though Kerry has some unique qualifications that others in the think tank probably don't have, i.e. being on the spectrum himself, I have to wonder about a program that includes the input of someone with so little experience in the actual workplace.  I have to wonder what this program is like, what the other people's qualifications may have been.   

I'm glad now that AS is starting to practice what they preach and giving an individual with autism (albeit an extremely high functioning one) a chance at a mainstream job.  I hope this works out for Kerry Magro and he can perhaps be a credit and an asset to an organization marred with all sorts of problems, which, at least in my opinion so far, has not been very helpful to persons with autism.

However, Magro is highly functioning and educated, in the process of obtaining a masters degree.  What of persons (probably myself included) who don't function at Magro's level?  Will autism speaks offer them employment in less executive type jobs (I'm assuming a social marketing coordinator is a more executive job, though I have no idea what this position entails as I've said before) such as data entry or even filing or janitorial work.  Perhaps now that AS has become enlightened enough to hire one autistic person, perhaps they could hire some others.  Of course, perhaps hiring a less functional autistic as a janitor might be considered bad publicity and this apparent sock puppet of the ND movement might be worried about flack they would get from ND's who might take umbrage at any autistic working a menial job.   

I see that AS has a new employment tool kit coming out soon.  I await this with bated breath.

Again, I wish Magro luck in his new position (whatever it is) and I hope AS will hire other paid employees on the spectrum.

As a side note to this post, I hope you can read it as the logo for my new novel may be getting in the way.  I apologize to any readers of autism's gadfly for any inconvenience this might cause, but I don't know how to make it smaller or position it in a place more suitable and I still want to promote my novel. 

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