Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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What careers do Aspergers adults have the most success with?

"This is a question specifically for Mark Hutten: I understand that you provide counseling for adults with autism. In your practice, what careers do your clients seem to have the most success with?"

I would say that most of my ASD clients seem to prefer jobs that are (a) technical in nature and (b) do not require a lot of social interaction. For example:
  • accountant
  • computer programmer
  • computer systems analyst
  • credit analyst 
  • engineering
  • financial analyst
  • graphic designer
  • lab technician
  • medical transcriptionist
  • researcher
  • software developer
  • web designer

But what I tell all my clients is this: While it is true that the jobs you might prefer won’t involve much social contact, a big part of overcoming social deficits associated with autism is exposure to social situations. Avoiding jobs that entail social contact just perpetuates the problem. Deep down, you may actually love jobs that involve social interaction. You’ve been brainwashed (either by yourself or someone else) that you are not a “people person” …that you don’t have what it takes to be companionable. But, adults on the spectrum don’t necessarily have bad social skills AND good technical skills.

I encourage my ASD clients to work more on getting out of their comfort zone than worrying about “the best jobs” for people with autism. The best job for you is the one that challenges you to grow and learn …it’s the one that brings you closer to people, not further away. And there are plenty of “techy” jobs out there that also connect you to people.

Reading Body Language: Dating Tips for Adults on the Spectrum

Often times, adults with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism do not pick up on the body language of others. Identifying non-verbal cues in others is a critical skill when it comes to relationships. 

Here are some pointers:

1. People instinctively raise their eyebrows when they meet other interesting people. Use this “identifier” to measure the interest that another individual has with you. Interested or excited people will also have shiny eyes. The eyes have a tiny gland on the bottom of the eyelid that secretes tears for lubrication. When an individual is interested or excited, the glands tend to secrete tears, thus giving the eyes a shiny appearance.

2. Mirroring is the technique of mimicking the body language of the other individual. If your body language mirrors the body language of the other person in the conversation, then you are implementing an important bonding technique. For example, if you are approaching someone who is seated, you sit too. If the body of the other individual is closed, then you should avoid being open (otherwise it may be perceived as intrusive). Sometimes people check (at an unconscious level) to see if you are mirroring their body language and have an interest in going deeper in the conversation. Conversely, you can check to see if the other person is mirroring you.

3. Some people form a “barrier” (e.g., arms crossed, legs crossed, holding an object in front of them, etc.). In this case, their body is considered to be closed. It’s better to seek people who have arms apart, legs uncrossed, and who are facing in your direction (their body is open).

4. In order to gauge the acceptance level of another individual, use the "personal space" test. This test consists of moving a little bit closer to an individual at a social setting so that you are standing close and reducing the size of the space around the other person. An individual less interested in you will attempt to move away. If he or she looks at you, raises the eyebrows and smiles, then this person is usually open to having a conversation.

5. When sitting at a table, people can either lean forward or away. If you lean forward, then you are more visible to other people at the table (it’s easier to converse with others who lean forward). However, when comfort and trust have not yet been established, leaning forward can be taken (subconsciously) as intrusiveness. On the other hand, leaning backward away from the table may be perceived as a sign of disinterest. But, an individual who leans backward but has the body open (i.e., no crossing of the arms or legs) may simply be relaxing. Try using some jokes or humor to gain the interest of the other individual so that he or she begins leaning forward. If you want to invite someone to your place (e.g., for dinner) or plan another get-together (e.g., for coffee or a beer), suggest making the invitation when the other individual is leaning forward with an open body.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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