Ok, why is Computer Repair, Calgary, and autism a great match? Let’s start with autism. Autism is short for autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Many people characterized on this spectrum have a wide range of behaviors that set them apart from neurotypical peers. Some identify autism by their special needs. Many on the spectrum would focus on their special abilities instead. In fact, focusing on their special abilities is exactly what a tech support company in Calgary is doing. They are celebrating these differences and strengths by exclusively employing IT consultants with ASD. From programming to computer repair, Calgary can now be a hub for autistic professionals.
auticon is located in Calgary, Alberta. They are led by CEO Garth Johnson. He says that autistic professionals come to auticon because of the support and structure that they’ve been missing in their life and to help take that next step in their career. As the company expands, they are committed to this path by hiring into cyber security, business intelligence and other information technology roles.
So why is autism such a good fit for these roles? High functioning autistic people tend to display strengths and abilities that are key in the information technology world:
- Quick memorization of information, even very detailed information.
- Logical thinking/ pattern recognition.
- Thinking and learning visually.
- Excelling in areas such as science, math, engineering, technical/logical subject.
- Having a strong memory.
- Being accurate and precise for long periods of time.
- Exceptional honesty and adherence to rules.
- Very Punctual.
- Alternate problem solving (thinking outside the box).
With strengths like these, the work is completed with exceptional quality, at exceptional value, and on time. Customers have touted that auticon’s technicians outperform inhouse staff by 50%.
As a computer repair technician, one needs to understand how a computer works, each component’s particular job, and how to analyze/diagnose issues both programmatically and physically.
Computers function logically and the primary skill of any technician is to know and understand patterns. This characteristic allows them to identify breaks in the pattern which ultimately leads to the problem.
Once a problem is identified, a solution needs to be created. Sometimes it can be very straightforward, and other times one needs to think outside the box to fix it.
We can see many overlaps between the ASD Strengths and The Technician Characteristics above. If that is the case, why are only 16% of autistic adults in full time employment?
The answer here may come down to the employer. Successfully employing autistic professionals comes down to the support they receive.
- Structure and working environment.
- Social & Communication Support.
- Training & Career Mentoring.
Interesting enough, these are three keys to employing neurotypical professionals as well. The difference is the specific content each. Every employee needs a safe place to work. It should allow them to achieve their job function successfully. They should be able to participate and communicate with peers and superiors. And they need to understand how to best get the job done and progress in their profession.
Structure and working environment
Many autistic professionals will thrive in a structure that is regular and planned out. They might find it beneficial to have specific times where their focus can be on a specific task or activity. They may also benefit by having changes to the schedule being planned out days or weeks in advance.
More support comes from a clean work environment that is aesthetically balanced and focused on alleviating sensory overload and anxiety. Adding in visual cues that support activities/tasks clearly define rules and expectations will further support an autistic professional
Social & Communication Support
All companies should be providing this type of support for their employees. The specific support for an autistic professional may include strategies to work through the complicated communications of a neurotypical professional. Many times, support is needed interpreting communication that includes sarcasm, being overly tactful, or even more abstract. There may even be need for support on social norms or colloquialisms.
Training & Career Mentoring
Again, this is something every employee needs support with. Support specifically for autistic professionals may include technical training that is very visual and maybe hands on. Visuals that can be memorized and that follow patters and logical thinking will generally be the most successful. Additionally, having the training a specific and regular times will give the autistic professional the best opportunity to focus on the training.
In addition to technical training, career mentoring is very valuable. Having a visual example to base actions and work ethic is extremely valuable. The mentor should be able to speak directly and logically on how to make progress in their career.
We are extremely excited to see a company in right here in Calgary, Alberta taking this focus. At TickTockTech we are very aware of the challenges and abilities of those on the spectrum. Our team has experienced being parents of autistic kids, having ASD family members, or being on the spectrum themselves. With the right structure and support, we’ve seen those with ASD flourish and grow. We’re excited to see potential employers like auticon see and recognize the value and skills of the Autistic community by creating these professional opportunities.