December 12, 2012
Danish Company Matches Autistics To Jobs

In Denmark Thorkil Sonne, who has an autistic son, founded a company, called Specialisterne, which supplies autistic consultants to companies for tasks where autistic minds perform better than normal minds (which are now referred to as neurotypicals).

Christian Andersen, another Specialisterne consultant, works at Lundbeck, a large pharmaceutical company. He compares records of patients who have experienced reactions to Lundbeck’s drugs, making sure the paper records match the digital ones. Errors can creep in when the reports are entered into the company’s database, and tiny mistakes could mean that potential health hazards would go undetected. So Andersen searches for anomalies, computer entry against written report, over and over, hour after hour, day after day.

Before Andersen arrived, his boss, Janne Kampmann, had a hard time finding employees who could do the job well. Most people’s minds wander as they go back and forth between documents, their eyes skimming the typos lurking there. Andersen, however, worked without interruption the morning I visited, attentive and silent until he lifted his head and, pointing to a sheet of paper, said to Kampmann, “Why do we have a 57 instead of 30 milligrams?” Kampmann told me Andersen is one of the best quality-control people she’s ever seen.

The article provides other examples of autistics outperforming neurotypicals in tasks that involve many precise steps and repetition. Relentlessness, hyperfocus, and a great memory for detail are required to excel at some tasks,

People who feel most comfortable communicating thru subtle social cues can feel frustrated dealing with autistics and can attribute malicious intent when none is present. Mutual misunderstandings are a big problem between autistics and neurotypicals. More managers should learn how to spot and deal with autistics because many autistics can excel if matched up to appropriate tasks and co-workers who know how to deal with them.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 December 12 07:24 AM 

gcochran said at December 14, 2012 4:09 PM:

I imagined a generalized version of this some time ago. OCD accountants, paranoid security specialists, nymphomaniac receptionists.

Anonymous said at December 16, 2012 9:14 PM:

gcochran what teachers should be? histrionic? Therapists? MD?

Phos said at December 17, 2012 12:08 PM:

In the known space science fiction stories the UN anti-rogue technology agents were Bipolar meglamaniacs and paranoids who were intentionally off their medications while on duty.

Phos said at December 17, 2012 12:10 PM:

Known Space stories are by Larry Niven. The spy organization was ARM

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