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In my work I get to hire people. When I hire someone I look for:

* Natural skill

* Intense ability to focus

* Ability to figure things out on one’s own rather than asking others

* Natural inclination to not waste time talking to co-workers

All of those traits come naturally to many with Autism, Asperger Syndrome in particular. But when someone with AS interviews for a position they may:

* Have a tic, an automated body movement that is “abnormal”

* Not give eye contact

* Have an odd tone or pitch to their voice

* Not have an easy flow of reciprocal speech, no “give and take” in the conversation

None of these traits make any difference once the person has the job, but since they are quite visible, they can make it impossible for the person with AS to get the job. The ideal employee may walk out of the interview rejected if the interviewer can not see past an odd hand gesture or lack of eye contact.

As employers, employees, co-workers, all of us working to build things in the world, we need to focus on what we really want at our workplaces.

Personally, for me and my company, I want plenty of people with AS. The AS traits often are found in people who are the most reliable, most brilliant, and most focused on getting the job done.

I have written two books:

1. In early 2001 I began writing “Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships” when I discovered my husband was about as Aspie as a person could be. I loved his quirky traits and I loved them even more once I recognized them as valuable parts of who he is.

2. In 2008-2009 I began writing “Business for Aspies: 42 Best Practices for Using AS Traits Effectively in the Workplace”. It was a pleasure to write. I could write a dozen more, all jam-packed with new ideas.

If you like my work and wish to leave a comment, please email me at ashleystanford@gmail.comĀ  Note that I can not answer every email — I am busy building businesses that recognize the benefits of Asperger Syndrome. (I have founded three corporations so far! Including one non-profit.)

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