Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

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

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