German Tech Company SAP AG has recently stated that it will be recruiting people with autism due to their incredible ability to process information at super human speeds and efficiency. SAP will be hiring people with autism to fill positions in programming, software testing, and quality assurance.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by
impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior.
Traditionally, to be diagnosed with autism, symptoms must become apparent before a child is 3 years old. If symptoms appear after that age it was thought to likely be a different disorder. The number of people diagnosed with autism in the United States alone used to be near 1%, but in the last 5 years it has jumped to more than 2%, likely due to greater awareness and many diagnoses now occuring later in life. Nowadays, autism can be predicted as early as age 1.
While some people may be skeptical of SAP’s decision, the tech company is positive that autism can be an asset in numerous cases, espeically in the case of mild autism, where the person retains all the informational processing benefits with minimal social difficulties (Much in the same way Blade retained all the badassery of vampirism with none of the drawbacks (except for the thirst!)). SAP performed a pilot project in India with autistic workers and saw improvements in productivity. The pilot project is being expanded to the US, Canada, and Germany later this year. They are understandably very confident in their decision.
In searching for the causes of autism researchers have pointed fingers at
certain foods, infectious disease, heavy metals, solvents, diesel exhaust, PCBs, phthalates andphenols used in plastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, vaccines, and prenatal stress.
Obviously no one is entirely sure what the cause of autism is, but due to its high prevalence a huge amount of studies have been, and continue to be conducted. While multiple studies have revealed genetic links, other studies have debunked these links and shown no genetic inheritance. Due to its elusive etiology autism has even been given the paradoxical catchphrase
Highly heritable but not inherited.
While autism remains largely a mystery, SAP has decided to brush the enigma aside and capitalize on the positive aspects of it. As they saying goes, there is a good side to everything.
I have personally seen the good and bad side of autism. When I was in boyscouts, there were 3 kids in my troop that had autism. Two of them were twins, and seemed to live in their own heads, barely aware of the world and people around them. It was very hard for them to interact with others, and especially hard to mold themselves to society’s demands; particularly a job.
The other kid, who was older than me at the time, was highly social, active, happy, and succesful. Although you could tell he was a bit different socially than other children around him, he was always happy to have a conversation and always tried to make others laugh. He worked as a UPS driver and was able to swim 11 miles in one go. He was something of a legend in my boyscout troop, and was an incredible rolemodel for so many children and adults alike.
If nobody had ever told me he had autism, I truly would have never known. I would have gone on thinking he was just an incredible, albiet strange (in a wonderful way) guy.
Think twice before you judge others, they might be far, far better at processing information than you. If there is a lesson in all this, I suppose that would be it.