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The STEM-Autism Connection

Statistically, between 80% and 90% of those on the autism spectrum are unemployed. The social and financial costs of such a large number are huge. The work you do occupies almost a third of your life and is a large part of who you are. Those who are unemployed, particularly those who are chronically unemployed, don’t have an answer to the question, “What do you do?” That whole part of their lives is missing, and they are burdened with a resulting loss of self-esteem and self image. Then there is the financial burden, which is considerable, borne by family or friends, or the state.
Those on the spectrum have considerable strengths. They have superior visual discrimination, useful for attending to fine detail, for analyzing visual images, and for isolating coding errors. They have a strong sense of logic and sequence, essential for tracking order flow from inception through inventory to accounting. And they have a strong ability to focus and persist for long periods of time, essential for the successful solution of complex problems where many unsuccessful attempts might precede the final success.
It so happens that the strong attributes of those on the spectrum are also in high demand for STEM-related activities, and there is a tremendous shortage of those qualified to apply for the increasing numbers of available STEM-related jobs. This seems to us like a perfect match! There is a surplus of highly capable individuals on the spectrum with the abilities and skills to apply for the ever-increasing number of STEM-related jobs available.
At Village Glen, not only is the STEM-Autism connection clear to us, we are actively strengthening it by offering classes to our students at all levels to strengthen their foundation in areas like computing and coding, robotics and design, and math and science. We believe the future for those on the spectrum has never looked more promising, and we want our students to lead the way towards that promise.

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