As important as it is to understand your learning type, it is also important to know what different types of job you may do well at if you are unsure where to start looking. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and their experiences are not the same. This is not an inclusive list, and is written specifically for individuals with Aspergers/HFA.
It is also very important to know that just because you have an interest in a certain area does not mean there is an economy where you live to support it. I would also suggest doing research about the city you live in and the outlook for that type of job.
In November 1999 Temple Grandin wrote a short essay on choosing the right job. Here is a part of the essay:
“Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of people with Autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Both high and low functioning people have very poor short-term working memory, but they often have a better long-term memory than most normal people. I have great difficulty with tasks that put high demands on short-term working memory.”
Good Jobs for Visual Thinkers
- Computer programming — Wide-open field with many jobs available especially in industrial automation, software design, business computers, communications and network systems
- Drafting — Engineering drawings and computer aided drafting. This job can offer many opportunities. Drafting is an excellent portal of entry for many interesting technical jobs. I know people who started out at a company doing drafting and then moved into designing and laying out entire factories. To become really skilled at drafting, one needs to learn how to draw by hand first. I have observed that most of the people who draw beautiful drawings on a computer learned to draw by hand first. People who never learn to draw by hand first tend to leave important details out of their drawings.
- Commercial art — Advertising and magazine layout can be done as freelance work
- Photography — Still and video, TV cameraman can be done as freelance work
- Equipment designing — Many industries; often a person starts as a draftsman and then moves into designing factory equipment
- Animal trainer or veterinary technician — Dog obedience trainer, behavior problem consultant
- Automobile mechanic — Can visualize how the entire car works
- Computer-troubleshooter and repair — Can visualize problems in computers and networks
- Small appliance and lawnmower repair — Can make a nice local business
- Handcrafts of many different types such as wood carving, jewelry making, ceramics, etc.
- Laboratory technician — Who modifies and builds specialized lab equipment
- Web page design — Find a good niche market can be done as freelance work
- Building trades — Carpenter or welder. These jobs make good use of visual skills but some people will not be able to do them well due to motor and coordination problems.
- Video game designer — Stay out of this field. Jobs are scarce and the field is overcrowded. There are many more jobs in industrial, communications business and software design computer programming. Another bad thing about this job is exposure to violent images.
- Computer animation — Visual thinkers would be very good at this field, but there is more competition in this field than in business or industrial computer programming. Businesses are recruiting immigrants from overseas because there is a shortage of good programmers in business and industrial fields.
- Building maintenance — Fixes broken pipes, windows and other things in an apartment complex, hotel or office building
- Factory maintenance — Repairs and fixes factory equipment
Good Jobs for Non-Visual Thinkers: Those who are good at math, music or facts
- Accounting — Get very good in a specialized field such as income taxes
- Library science — reference librarian. Help people find information in the library or on the Internet.
- Computer programming — Less visual types can be done as freelance work
- Engineering — Electrical, electronic and chemical engineering
- Journalist — Very accurate facts, can be done as freelance
- Copy editor — Corrects manuscripts. Many people freelance for larger publishers
- Taxi driver — Knows where every street is
- Inventory control — Keeps track of merchandise stocked in a store
- Tuning pianos and other musical instruments, can be done as freelance work Laboratory technician — Running laboratory equipment
- Bank Teller — Very accurate money counting, much less demand on short-term working memory than a busy cashier who mostly makes change quickly
- Clerk and filing jobs — knows where every file is
- Telemarketing — Get to repeat the same thing over and over, selling on the telephone. Noisy environment may be a problem. Telephone sales avoids many social problems.
- Statistician — Work in many different fields such as research, census bureau, industrial quality control, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, etc.
- Physicist or mathematician — There are very few jobs in these fields. Only the very brilliant can get and keep jobs. Jobs are much more plentiful in computer programming and accounting.
These are two of the websites I use with my clients when working on different learning types:
Ldpride, is written and maintained by a woman with learning disabilities.
Information adapted from from Temple Grandin’s article: http://www.autism.com/index.php/advocacy_grandin_job
By Maggie Cromeens
Maggie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal and Fine Arts with a Major in Communication/Public Relations and a Minor in Non Profit Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has worked for Compass Resource Group since 2011. She assists adults in Texas with disabilities in achieving their employment goals by providing training, job placement assistance, environmental work assessments, social skills training, and job coaching. She has been instrumental in shaping the services at Compass Resource Group to meet the needs of young adults on the Autism Spectrum who are transitioning from high school. She is a member of the DARS Statewide Developmental Disorders Team