Mind Shift has promoted hiring people with autism because of the advantage they bring to the workplace. We are quick to mention that our Specialists have greater focus and accuracy, lower turnover rates, greater attention to detail and deviation, a high work ethic and sense of integrity. But if this is so, why do we not see greater employment opportunities for those with autism?
If this question was asked in our offices, you might hear that common misconceptions surrounding autism prevent employers from seeing the value of the individuals.
This misunderstanding is disappointing at best, and damaging and debilitating at worst. But there is hope. It is becoming common knowledge that with autism come advantages that can benefit an organization. And recently we have begun to see more and more heroes with autism in popular culture. It’s about time.
Here are just a few examples of heroes who save the day while also living with the challenges that come with autism:
1. Billy, the blue Power Ranger is on the autism spectrum.
2. Symmetra, a popular playable character in the video game Overwatch, is on the autism spectrum.
3. “The Good Doctor” is an ABC series that tells the story of surgeon with ASD.
4. While not specifically diagnosed, Drax the Destroyer from “Guardians of the Galaxy” has become a favorite character in the autism community.
5. Ben Affleck, in the “R” rated movie “The Accountant”, portrays an antihero with autism (this one isn’t for the kids).
And while we have fun exploring heroics in popular culture, we need to remember the real-life heroes with autism. Those individuals who put themselves in harm’s way to assist others, those people who act with integrity, virtue, and bravery.
Heroes such as Micah David-Cole Fletcher, who was one of three individuals who stepped in to stop a white supremacist from harassing two girls on a Portland, Oregon train. Two of those individuals died from injuries when the harasser attacked them for stepping in. Micah was stabbed in the neck, but survived his injuries after a two-hour surgery. Micah acted bravely and selflessly to help two people he didn’t know. Micah is a real-life hero.
While it is great to see heroes with autism becoming more common in our society, we should remember that greatness does not only appear in comic books, video games and movies. There are real life heroes on the spectrum amongst us.