Autism Success in Tech

This purpose of this group is to help people with Asperger's/autism achieve success in the tech industry.

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About the Group

This purpose of this group is to bring together a group of people with Asperger’s/autism and provide mutual support in navigating the tech industry.

All aspects of technology are included: programming, data entry, data science, hardware, operating systems, office software, computer art and graphic design, industrial design, engineering, mathematics, science, electronics, startups, space exploration, testing, entrepreneurship, hackerspaces, and much more.

No previous experience with technology is required – just a desire to learn and help others. Complete beginners are welcome. Those with experience can provide advice and support to the newcomers.

FAQs

Do I need any experience with technology?

All levels of experience are welcome, including complete beginners.

What is the format of the meetings?

I think that this group will start with online discussions and move towards some in-person meetings after that. I am also looking for assistance with planning the format of this group, so please contact us if you have suggestions or would like to assist. If you prefer to participate only via the Internet, then you can do so in the discussion forum.

Why tech?

There is a large tech scene in the Bay Area, and it’s the field that I’m familiar with. Some tech companies, like SAP and Microsoft, have programs to actively seek out employees with autism/Asperger’s, and that’s the niche that this group focuses on. According to one source, “the unemployment rate for people with Asperger’s is as high as 85 percent”, so maybe this group can target that problem. If we are successful with this group that targets the tech industry, maybe other similar groups could be formed to support people who are interested in other fields.

There also may be some connection between technical fields and autism:

A survey of more than 450,000 people in the UK has shown there is a significant correlation between a higher score on the Autism Quotient and being a scientist or engineer. AQ scores are also higher for men than for women. “On average, the male AQ score was 21.6, compared to a female score of 19.0. People work in a STEM-related job had an average AQ score of 21.9 compared to a score of 18.9 for individuals working in non-STEM jobs. This suggests autistic traits are linked to both sex and to having a ‘systems-thinking’ mind.” A professor involved with the work said, “These may shed light on why we find males in the population on average have slightly more autistic traits than females do, and why fathers and grandfathers of children with autism are over-represented in STEM fields.” [source]

I’m not technical, but I’m a tech entrepreneur with autism/Asperger’s – can I still join?

Yes, everyone is welcome.

Are there good resources for learning how to program?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, you can join Code Self Study. For more resources, please join our discussion forum.

I am the parent of a child with autism/Asperger’s – can I join?

Yes.

Do I need an official autism or Asperger’s diagnosis to join?

An official diagnosis is not required. This is an inclusive and friendly group for people who are interested in helping each other.

Are there other meetup groups about Asperger’s and autism?

Yes, click here for a list.

Are you only in Berkeley, California?

Anyone is welcome to join our online community. We plan to expand meetups beyond Berkeley as the group grows. Join our group to register your support and interest.

Can I register with a pseudonym?

Yes, anonymity is fine.

Can I sponsor your group?

Yes. Any assistance with organization, meeting space, software, hardware, partnerships, job training, and/or other help would be greatly appreciated. Please contact the organizers.

Where can I send additional questions and feedback about the group?

Click here to send us an email.