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German IT Firm Seeks Autistic Workers

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the recognizing-ability dept.

IT 172

Aguazul2 writes "The German software giant SAP has announced it plans to recruit hundreds of people with autism within the next few years. The project has already started in India and Ireland where a total of 11 people with autism are employed by the company. The program to take on software testers, programmers and data management workers will spread across Germany, Canada and the U.S. this year. People with autism have a neural development disorder that often undermines their ability to communicate and interact socially [...] but in the world of computers the tendencies they often display such as an obsession for detail and an ability to analyze long sets of data very accurately can translate into highly useful and marketable skills."

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Great! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796825)

As anybody who had to work with SAP software can certify, it can only get better.

Re:Great! (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796905)

Perhaps they will put them in Sales, so their sales will match their product quality.

If you want to put your company out of business then go to SAP. That way you can blame someone else.

Re:Great! (4, Insightful)

Dogbertius (1333565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797227)

There are too many details missing from the article for it to be of any use. One of my family members works with young people with autism every day, working towards teaching them to communicate, express one's self, and, if they are lucky, to be able to integrate into mainstream society as independent adults rather than being dependent on aid workers or being a burden of the state. The ability to maintain a steady job, a relationship, and a career in general, is, in my opinion, a very significant pursuit, and worth the investment.

Are these individuals diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome? How far along the ASD spectum are they? Once you are so far along, the ability to talk and interact with external information sources is gone. I doubt SAP will be hiring people that are completely mute and unable to communicate with other humans via computers or sign language of any sort.

Also, in the EU, you can have nine doctors diagnose you as free of autism, but a tenth says you have autism, that final diagnosis sticks. A lot of parents take advantage of this in North America as autism is one of the few behavior-affecting conditions that is funded by the government for subsidized care, teaching, etc. It's fairly common for parents of "hyper active" kids to intentionally seek out an ASD diagnosis just for the funding. It's pretty shameful, actually.

For all we know, SAP's idea of "autistic" could be little more than very mild Asperger's syndrome or even as little as being slightly eccentric and being misdiagnosed.

Danish company founded by parent of autistic child (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797367)

The proxy at work hates /. so not bothering to login.

Anyhow they might be following the footsteps of this Danish family that started a business with Autistic employees because their son was autistic and they wanted their to be somewhere for him to work when they were gone.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/putting-the-gifts-of-the-autistic-to-work/

They found out their employees do excellent QA work and they even charge a premium for it.

Don't let EA find out about they guy they had to tell to go home because he was working so late and didn't really notice.

Tekfactory

Re:Great! (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797097)

The only way of making the pile of crap called SAP better is to take the drives with its code, format them, overwrite them with random data, go buck-wild with a sledgehammer on them and toss the pieces into the Mariana trench. Only then will I consider talking about possible improvements.

Re:Great! (3, Interesting)

ph4cr (775696) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797925)

Indeed - I have Asperger's Syndrome. Autism runs in my line. I was diagnosed later in life. There were "pills for weird pupils" when I was a child. Fortunately my parents were to poor or to stupid to dope me up! I've been doing IT Security for almost 20 years. Well before the attacker waterline rose above Corporate America's collective ankles! I always considered my "oddity" to be a sometimes benevolent "gift". With a variety of socially and personally unpleasant side effects... So - now neurological conditions are to be exploited! For corporate gain? I am utterly disgusted! I suggest seizing your medical records before other companies decide exactly what kind of asset or risk you pose to their bottom line!

So... (5, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796835)

People with autism have a neural development disorder that often undermines their ability to communicate and interact socially [...] but in the world of computers the tendencies they often display such as an obsession for detail and an ability to analyze long sets of data very accurately can translate into highly useful and marketable skills.

From that description, I'd guess that 95% of autistic people already work in the IT field.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796853)

I think you'll find we all have Asperger's, you insensitive clod!

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796981)

Asperger's is high functioning Autism.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

sigxcpu (456479) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797119)

Asperger's is high functioning Autism.

Nowadays, anything the shrink does not like is "highly functioning Autism"

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43798075)

Back in my day, we used to just call 'em "weidos".

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797127)

Not in the DSM anymore, because it's not really distinct from autism in any meaningful way.

Re:So... (1, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797335)

There is very much so a distinction.
People with autism have a disability that causes socially problems.
People with asperger have social problems that they blame on a disability.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797885)

Go fuck yourself! I don't have any social problems. You have the social problems.

I like trains. Do you like trains? My favorite train locomotive is the Hockdruck H17-206. It was built in 1925 by Henschel, on the Schmidt high pressure system. Hockdruck is German for "high pressure".

Re:So... (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797347)

Not in the DSM anymore, because it's not really distinct from autism in any meaningful way.

An unfortunate decision - for the victims and their families, there is a huge difference from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797533)

So? You file it under the spectrum and specify the severity.

Re:So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797461)

Clearly you have never spent any significant amount of time with anyone suffering from severe autism. Saying it's not different from Asberger Syndrome "in any meaningful way" is like saying having a papercut isn't different from being disemboweled "in any meaningful way".

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797553)

You seem to think no one with autism is high-functioning. Thanks for working so hard to make "autistic" a bad word like "retarded" is. I have an uncle who is quite severely autistic, and a cousin with a much more minor incarnation of the illness. Aspergers has no diagnostic or treatment criteria that distinguish from autism. The end.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797701)

I suppose it is still in DSM-5 but under different name - they put it all to autism because in certain way people with this characteristic have the same symptoms but because we humans are not creatures that can be measured with one factor only these people are different from each other as nueronorms are too. So we have dumb asses who have that and this means no employment, then you have brilliant guys who have focus on train numbers if they are to focused on that their utility value for a company is nill. So come to think of it is that they i.e. SAP think that thee found way to recognize a good guy. I guess this is as futile as anything else but nice for autists in this sense that removes retardation stigma off of their backs. Bad thing is - for all their brilliancy for some of them it is just as bad as it ever was. Also depending on the way groups of workers are organized it may that the guy just cannot function because too much stressful social interaction with other often disturbed and silly people has to be done to achieve one consistent approach to whatever they do. Similarly to other ways of organizing teams&projects some of them work some do not. What else is new?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797139)

Heh... ass burgers...

Re:So... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796869)

Yes. Or are Senior Surgical Staff at teaching hospital.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796955)

From that description, I'd guess that 95% of autistic people already work in the IT field.

Many of the people in IT probably score a little higher on the autistic spectrum, but there's a difference between that and full-on autism.

Lots of people will say they have Aspberger's to write off their eccentricities as well. But without a proper clinical diagnosis, those people are usually wrong.

Sometimes, people are just annoying jerks with an over-attention to detail, but that makes them neither autistic nor people with Asperger's. Once we accept that about ourselves, we can try to be slightly less annoying and work on some of those things. ;-)

Re:So... (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797279)

Lots of people will say they have Aspberger's to write off their eccentricities as well.

As diagnosed by Zach Weiner in his Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2832 [smbc-comics.com]

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

jovius (974690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797395)

I work as a part-time helper and I've seen some pretty average cases of autism too. Normal in this case means incapacitating sensitivity to stimuli, inability to communicate (some just scream or laugh at things) and extremely aggressive behaviour (Some of the care-takers I know have been bitten, badly bruised or some of their hair has been pulled off). The image what general population have of autism and asperger's is twisted, and it's amusing how many self diagnose themselves with some totally idealized disease just to have some meaning in their lives. The diagnosis selectively lands on the 'best' cases.

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797037)

It depends. There's "autistic", where (and I'm not trying to be insensitive with my description, here) someone may be wearing protective gear, rocking/spinning, groaning a lot and freak out if there is any noise or light and who are literally unable to communicate with their family in any manner beyond gesturing . . . and then there are the Slashdot hipsters who have taken to the trend of self-diagnosing with Asperger's over the last five years, because they are occasionally "socially awkward penguin" or "are really obsessive about something and detail oriented".

The article makes it pretty clear that they're talking about "socially awkward" Asperger's people (presumably legitimately so and not those climbing on board the label, because they took an online quiz) and not the ones who have actual communication issues and have difficulty functioning within their home, much less in a professional environment performing QA functions.

I have friends who have autistic children, so I really hope my description of the first case isn't made out to be cruel. In my (limited, as an outsider) experience, it is pretty accurate of the lower ends of the Autism spectrum.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797223)

and then there are the Slashdot hipsters who have taken to the trend of self-diagnosing with Asperger's over the last five years, because they are occasionally "socially awkward penguin" or "are really obsessive about something and detail oriented".

Sadly, this isn't a Slashdot thing. These days, it's fucking full-blown Internet trendy to pretend you're damaged.

Re:So... (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797417)

I'm shy, and also an asshole. Surely that means I have a syndrome, right?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797751)

but I scored better in the quiz than you did you insensitive clod!

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797753)

It depends. There's "autistic", where (and I'm not trying to be insensitive with my description, here) someone may be wearing protective gear, rocking/spinning, groaning a lot and freak out if there is any noise or light and who are literally unable to communicate with their family in any manner beyond gesturing . . . and then there are the Slashdot hipsters who have taken to the trend of self-diagnosing with Asperger's over the last five years, because they are occasionally "socially awkward penguin" or "are really obsessive about something and detail oriented".

The article makes it pretty clear that they're talking about "socially awkward" Asperger's people (presumably legitimately so and not those climbing on board the label, because they took an online quiz) and not the ones who have actual communication issues and have difficulty functioning within their home, much less in a professional environment performing QA functions.

I have friends who have autistic children, so I really hope my description of the first case isn't made out to be cruel. In my (limited, as an outsider) experience, it is pretty accurate of the lower ends of the Autism spectrum.

There are also people who move across that continuum. My wife has a lot of classical physical autism characteristics: rocking/spinning, inability to function with noise or bright/flashing lights, finds the touch of silk, moving water, grass completely unbearable, walks on her toes all the time, among others, but can usually manage to work a real job that involves dealing with problem children for eight hours a day because she has worked out a very precise, detailed system of how she approaches the work, and she's fantastically good at what she does. If an employer is willing to go to the effort to provide the specific work environment in which a borderline autistic person can function, it could be hugely beneficial for both the employer and the employee.

Re:So... (2)

CyberSlugGump (609485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797053)

Autism or Asperger’s syndrome? I guess the distinction is moot now with the very recent release of the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [dsm5.org] eliminating Asperger Disorder in favor of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Also, remember person-first language: "workers with autism" instead of "autistic workers"

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797149)

Also, remember person-first language: "workers with autism" instead of "autistic workers"

That's a nice sentiment, but it's not how English sentences are constructed. Adjectives reduce awkwardness. It can make a real difference in complex clauses.

Re:So... (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797803)

In my English, workers with autism do things to autism, like workers with leather might make wallets and shoes.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797163)

So we should say "people with slashdotism" and not "insensitive clod"?

Re:So... (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797351)

Oh, I wish I had mod point!

Re:So... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797587)

I agree that it is a nice sentiment, but English tends to be a modifier-first, head-final order nomenclature. Think Songbird vs. Birdsong. It’s longer, it has more words – you are going against the nature grain of language.

Re:So... (1)

bityz (2011656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797173)

Perhaps you mean that you'd "guess that already 95% of people working in the IT field are autistic". (or is that observation too obsessively detail oriented?) (you have no idea how long I struggled with where to put "already"... )

Re:So... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797675)

I believe they meant to say that 94.586493271% actually.

Re:So... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43798023)

Perhaps you mean that you'd "guess that already 95% of people working in the IT field are autistic".

(or is that observation too obsessively detail oriented?) (you have no idea how long I struggled with where to put "already"... )

You're confusing "autistic" with "anal retentive".

SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796871)

SAP want them cause they are easily exploitable. I have sadly had to work with SAP twice, there software is crap and most of their developers are Indians paid like maids (in Sweden). I have no respect for that company or their software (or any company stupid enough to use it).

Re:SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796953)

SAP want them cause they are easily exploitable.

No, SAP wants them because the state mandates a quota of people with disabilities to all larger companies, and in exchange, the companies get various benefits from the state for every such employee.

Re:SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797021)

No, SAP wants them because the state mandates a quota of people with disabilities to all larger companies, and in exchange, the companies get various benefits from the state for every such employee.

No no no, the Germans are the only people who can culturally relate to autistic people -- the need for order and rigorous detail is appreciated there and viewed as a good thing. ;-)

(And, for the record, I've worked with Germans before -- most of whom are awesome and will make their own jokes about their collective need for things to be in ordnung, I'm not dissing them.)

Re:SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797293)

Have you read the 1632 series of books by Eric Flint? Do it, it's wonderful. An American town (from semi-rural West Virginia, no less!) gets lobbed into the 17th century Europe, in the middle of Germany (and also in the middle of the Thirty Years' War), and everyone wonders why these strange people who claim to have come from the future English colonies in the New World, by means of some strange cosmic accident, think that the Germans with their motley assortment of duchies with hideously complicated by-laws are considered "orderly".

Also, the Americans proclaim themselves to be "staunch individualists" compared to the Germans, whereas the contemporaries are puzzled and snigger at them for that because they've never seen a more bureaucratic bunch of people in their whole life, and further would have never believed that any such bunch was even naturally possible. :)

Re:SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (1)

johnjaydk (584895) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797345)

No no no, the Germans are the only people who can culturally relate to autistic people -- the need for order and rigorous detail is appreciated there and viewed as a good thing. ;-)

I've been inside a BMW assembly plant in Germany and I were chocked even though I had been warned in advance. The place was cleaner than most restaurants in the rest of the world.

Everybody who've have had a high-end German car is ready to praise German obsessive compulsiveness. You can also find a lot of shit in Germany but when they really try, then they go all out.

Re:SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797693)

I love my 740il.

Re:SAP? Guess they aren't looking for quality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797243)

SAP want them cause they are easily exploitable.

No, SAP wants them because the state mandates a quota of people with disabilities to all larger companies, and in exchange, the companies get various benefits from the state for every such employee.

How about paraplegics? They'll never leave their desk.

Yeah yeah running Firefox 21.010567b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796883)

This browser is 8 days 7 hours and 31 seconds outdated yeah yeah. Need to install a fresh image. DON'T TOUCH ME!

I LOVE this precedent! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796899)

My hiring practice with be women with big tits. Because I have just as much evidence as these Germans do.

Re:I LOVE this precedent! (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797009)

In IT? What if she already has a job?

Re:I LOVE this precedent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797079)

In IT? What if she already has a job?

No problem! She'd be making more money then in IT at what she's doing and wouldn't apply anyway.

And your point?

Re:I LOVE this precedent! (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797123)

It was an obscure attempt to poke fun at the fact there are substantially fewer women than men in IT. Carry on. Talk amongst yourselves.

Re:I LOVE this precedent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797191)

It was an obscure attempt to poke fun at the fact there are substantially fewer women than men in IT. Carry on. Talk amongst yourselves.

*Whooosh*

Explanation: Attractive people can get better jobs outside of IT.

Please, making upper 5 figures? With the number of number of hours you're working?

Sucker.

Bare your tits and make that just working weekends at a Titty bar.

Re:I LOVE this precedent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797581)

In IT? What if she already has a job?

She can keep blowing for all I care.

I welcome your hiring practice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797039)

...with open arms as I find that lately there is not enough that kind of hands on approach to the subject at hand.

Re:I welcome your hiring practice... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797249)

Firmness in your stated hiring practice will allow both the employee and employer satisfaction to rise, encouraging tight teamwork and clear improvement in fullfillment issues as well as business to business relationships.

Re:I LOVE this precedent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797659)

My hiring practice with be women with big tits. Because I have just as much evidence as these Germans do.

So, fat bitches then?

Great news for 4chan. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796901)

A lot of them will finally get jobs.

Spped of Dark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796923)

Sounds very much like Elizabeth Moon's novel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_Dark

Re:Spped of Dark (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797271)

Is it about Usain Bolt?

Tax Breaks (3, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43796931)

Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

Re:Tax Breaks (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797013)

Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

Spot on. EU requirements of x %age of employees with y issues/minority when company employee count > y.

Re:Tax Breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797309)

Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

Spot on. EU requirements of x %age of employees with y issues/minority when company employee count > y.

Do you have a source for that, or did you just make it up?

Re:Tax Breaks (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797621)

i.e. German "Schwerbehindertengesetz" http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwerbehindertenrecht_%28Deutschland%29

"Private und öffentliche Arbeitgeber mit mindestens 20 Arbeitsplätzen sind verpflichtet, auf mindestens 5 % der Arbeitsplätze schwerbehinderte Menschen zu beschäftigen."

=> "employers with more than 20 employees are obligated to fill at least 5% of these spots with ppl with disabilities."

if they don't, they are subject to extra fees, however many companies choose to rather pay these fees than deal with the extra hassles in case you need to fire employees with disabilities. the fees are not very high anyway, but i have no source atm. it's a couple hundred euro a year per unfilled spot iirc.

Workers with disabilities also have better job protection, extra leave days, protection against discrimination, etc.

Re:Tax Breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797979)

Workers with disabilities also have better job protection, extra leave days, protection against discrimination, etc.

With such rights it must be advantageous to cut your own legs. I wonder if being fat is a recognised disability. It should, there is more fat peoples every day. Also I am fat, so it's okay for me to call peoples fat.

Re:Tax Breaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797031)

Is there any tax breaks for hiring people with autism? I am too cynical.

You're not being cynical at all. I don't know about .de, but in .cz, companies have the option of contracting a protected job position, where, in exchange for some special treatment of the employee by the employer (beneficial for the employee), the state agrees to pay a (significant) part of the employee's salary. I'd be surprised if the Germans didn't have something similar.

Re:Tax Breaks (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797331)

Maybe they're betting they can get away with paying a terrible salary to people that have a hard time finding a job due to their disability. It's a business model that's worked well at Goodwill

http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/208068/189/Goodwill-Pays-Disabled-Employees-Less-than-Minimum-Wage [wusa9.com]

Re:Tax Breaks (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797447)

Some people recieving a disibility check from the federal goverment can lose benifits if they recieve too much income. The system is set up with the assumption that lots of people are faking thier illness. So you have bored people voluntearing at places like goodwill. These jobs are sometimes part of treatment programs.

Re:Tax Breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797359)

Definitely, definitely.

Re:Tax Breaks (1)

Shompol (1690084) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797375)

Definitely yes, and that is the main reason behind the decision. Still, the tax breaks are not likely to cover the expense of hiring someone, so they stake it on a claim that autistic people are capable of work in software.

Re:Tax Breaks (1)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797493)

I'll bet there are. And I'll bet you can pay them less than minimum wage, too, as part of some kind of "therapy" program.

See Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43796987)

First person protagonist is an autistic programmer.

Seems oddly familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797015)

A German organization actively 'recruiting' the developmentally disabled? What could possibly go wrong...

Might be a good thing (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797025)

I have been saying for a long time if these are our "best and brightest" can we give our worst and dullest a chance to see if things get any better?

Considering how poor SAP software is, this might produce a better product in the long run.

Thorkil Sonne (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797049)

SAP aren't the first to do this.

Thorkil Sonne at Specialisterne in Denmark has built a consultancy of autistics. [wired.com]

Re:Thorkil Sonne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797203)

You didn't read the article, didn't you? :-)

Quoting from the article:

        "DAX-registered SAP, which is based in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, in southern Germany, created the initiative together with the Danish company Specialisterne, or The Specialists. Set up by Thorkil Sonne after he recognised the cognitive talents of his own son Lars, who suffers from autism, the social organisation aims to equip one million sufferers of autism with skills for the workplace within the next few years."

Re:Thorkil Sonne (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797235)

Lol, I scanned it for "Denmark" and figured that was good enough. Guess I don't have that autistic attention to detail.

Autest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797067)

This has been a thing in the testing world for a while now. http://www.startfoundation.nl/investeringen/portefeuille/stichting_autest
A major chain looking into it however is something... special.

Go read "The Speed of Dark", it's on this topic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797085)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_Dark

It's a good story in any case, and it's told from the point of view of an autistic person who works for a company that has specifically be hireing people, sounding very similar to this story

David Lang

Oh Great (0)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797153)

So now when you apply for a job, you get:

Not qualified. Doesn't have autism.

"Help wanted. Non-autistics need not apply." (1)

tomlouie (264519) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797159)

"Help wanted. Non-autistics need not apply."

Stereotyping (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797165)

I'm hiring Afro-Americans for my new cotton plantation, they aren't good at reading or writing but are good at picking cotton.

Will they still still need X degree and pass over (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797207)

Will they still still need X degree and pass over people who have learn on there / went to tech schools?

The old college system may not be the best place for them to learn vs other ways.

Re:Will they still still need X degree and pass ov (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797281)

No. They'll just demand 50 years of SAP experience [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Will they still still need X degree and pass ov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797405)

Will they still still need X degree and pass over people who have learn on there [own] / went to tech schools?

The old college system may not be the best place for them to learn vs other ways.

I think I know why employers pass you over...

I approve of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797247)

I approve. Definitely. I approve. Definitely. 11 people. 11 people. Definitely. I approve. Do I get a stapler? I like staplers. 11 people.

Will Be Abused (2)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797289)

This will be abused. Either the autistic employees will be abused or the non autistic employees will be abused because they are not performing as well as the autistic employees. I think it's a really good thing that these people are being given opportunities, I just don't know how their "talents" won't be exploited by management. Low social functions could also mean not really speaking out when asked (forced) to work 12 hour days.

Maybe I jump to cynical conclusions but it seems generalizing autistic people as some kind of software super people and then seeking to hire them is a bit like generalizing asians as good at math and seeking to hire them into math intensive positions.

Re:Will Be Abused (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797459)

Low social functions could also mean not really speaking out when asked (forced) to work 12 hour days.

I would expect the opposite. High social functioning people are usually the ones kept for 12 hour days because of their perceived social obligation.

Re:Will Be Abused (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797475)

The article gives no indication that they're looking to hire low-functioning autistics. They're hiring high-functioning autistics. Most likely people you would work next to on a daily basis and never know there was anything "wrong" with them until they told you they had autism (or, my bet, asperger's) over lunch one day. We're talking "yeah, I have a hard time grasping sarcasm, sometimes" guys more than "I am afraid of chairs and mirrors" guys.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797297)

They also trying to hire people from the lunatic asylum for managing staff, because some studies show that managers and psychopaths share some personality traits. :-)

People with autism have a neural development... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797423)

...disorder.

Oh really? Any PROOF of this laughable idea?

Oh wait- we can't have people looking at the EMOTIONS of 'autistic' people, or investigating what their parents did to them to MAKE them not want to look them in the eye, and not want to have anything to do with them, no sirree...

After all, all the parents of 'autistic' children WANT it to be a 'neural development disorder', rather than anything THEY did to their own child, so they MUST be right!

So where is the PROOF? What evidence is there that ANYBODY has a 'neural development disorder'? I mean SCIENTIFIC evidence, not 'We say it's so and therefore it is, but we have nothing physical and REAL to prove it".

Cue Slashdot sheep cretins bleating like idiots because they're terrified of THINKING and can't be bothered to investigate things for themselves. LOL.

Re:People with autism have a neural development... (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797525)

I think we have proof that you have a "neural development disorder".

Re:People with autism have a neural development... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797927)

Wow, what did your parents do to you?

Re:People with autism have a neural development... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43798051)

You would have been more persuasive if you'd used all-caps on more words.

Autistic Superpowers (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797501)

Not everyone with autism has superpowers. So will they be firing these people by the hundreds in order to weed out the gifted ones?

let Jake Bohm know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797699)

Didn't Fox just cancel "Touch"?

Mindrot Virus (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797891)

Sounds like an idea from "A Deepness in the Sky". That is if they are mistaking autistic people as all having some sort of directable OCD that they can harness.

Tax break (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43797895)

... at least I hope so.

All sharp people are not on the Asperger's/Autism spectrum. These people are good with details, but they tend to be very, very bad in teams and have no hope of being effective leaders. Software development is a social and collaborative activity, so God help SAP investors if they put them there. As a guy who sits in a hole reading system logs or does security audits, these people can be useful. They need to work in a black-and-white world, and product development is anything but.

You'd be sick if you saw the amount of money we waste on them in special education, at least in the US, which doesn't come from other funding- it comes from YOUR kid's education. Typical numbers for per-pupil are $7-8k, where I've known schools with ~700 students who have 6 autistic kids which need 1-to-1 care and special busses/ rooms/ school psychologists/ everything. Their known bill *individually* is $100k, and it comes from diluting the educations of everyone else. A colleague did the math once, and across all students, slightly less than half was actually spent on a normal child- the majority actually goes to fill the gap of the special education children (whose funding far lags their need). Its why American K-12 is falling behind, we're actually spending less on the average or excellent child, and more on the ones who will flip burgers at best, or be institutionalized for life.

HOT MUSTARD BURN BABY!!! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797901)

Three hundred twenty three sausages on the biergarten grill. Definitely, yes, three hundred twenty three sausages on the biergarten grill. Three hundred twenty three, yes, definitely.

I am an "aspie" (4, Interesting)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43797921)

Note: The Google translator is shit and my native language (brazilian portuguese) is complicated to translate, so expect ugly spelling errors

As a bearer of Asperger's syndrome, I can - safely - affirm for you guys that the inability of social interaction is not my choice. It's like yours social skills being always "offline" with no way to be switched on, I am unable to get the "social signals" that everyone realizes without having to learn and I am treated as "invisible" by everyone or even worse, as "easy target".

In contrast, it is easy, pretty easy to me to develop any complex application without neglecting the details and seeing both the whole and the part of the system, in my work I take care of all aspects of a local government system and the users are pretty satisfied with it. Too bad I have to live like a social outcast with no choice (because others actively reject me for not being exactly like them).

This is nothing new (1)

LukeWebber (117950) | about a year and a half ago | (#43798123)

Oracle employs autistics exclusively.

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