A BEAUTIFUL BUSINESS MIND
Becoming a mother for the first time is overwhelming. I remember intense love thudding through me, along with an acute fear, as I held my squalling newborn in my arms. I was lucky: my little boy was perfect and I have gone on to have an equally gorgeous daughter, and both of them – apart from the common childhood illnesses – have been healthy.
Imagine the worry parents go through when they discover that their children have autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder whose symptoms can vary from difficulty in interacting socially through to problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviours. It could mean, like for a friend of mine, that your child simply has problems initially making friends and doesn’t pick up on the usual social cues; or it could be that your child is unable to speak but is exceptional at maths, art, or music.
Previously parents of such children were told that they would never be able to work or contribute to society when they grew up. Fortunately, times have changed and people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome – which is on the autistic spectrum – are now being recognised as assets to global companies because of the very traits that characterise the condition.
And of course, it makes perfect sense to want to hire staff who can read code meticulously or check that systems are perfect prior to launch, because they won’t take shortcuts. As the manager of Steen B Iversen, a telecoms worker with Asperger’s in Denmark, says: ‘He has an eye for detail, is a perfectionist and will not allow a faulty piece through.’ Turn to page 46 to read our fascinating feature on why autism is good for business and let me know what you think of that story and the rest of the issue.
Until next weekend,
Previously parents of AUTISTIC children were told they’d NEVER be able to WORK when they grew up