My struggles as a person with Autism finding work

As a person with Autism there are many challenges that I face, certain things that I can and can not do. Overall these challenges aren’t too life-altering and I’ve adapted to my circumstances.

One challenge though that has been a constant throughout my adult life has been finding suitable employment, it’s a challenge that isn’t helped by a questionable economy here in Newfoundland and Labrador but there have been challenges in finding work even during periods when the economy here in the province was quite good.

While there have been challenges in finding work during my 20 year career which began as a high school co op student in the fall of 1998 there have been success stories which are as follows:

Work with national retailers such as Canadian Tire and Wal Mart. Work with multiple departments within the provincial government. Work with my local tourism association, Keyin College. I have updated an inventory system for a local business. I have used my experiences in getting help from employment counsellors and aided an individual with a disability in getting help in finding services. In my work experience I find that they use my skills especially as it relates to data entry and give me work as it relates to that, my work has usually been met with positive reviews and many employers hiring me again if possible.

For the most part my work experience has come through funding arrangements and wage subsidies through such programs as Easter Seals, Empower, Opening Doors among others. Although I am quite competent the private sector does not look past my Autism.

Still this year there has been a challenge in finding work, probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve had in finding work during the course of my 20-year career.

I’ve sent out numerous resumes out to employers over the past few months and still have been unable to find work, I am confident that my resume is appealing to an  employer’s eye and really wish I didn’t have such a hard time in finding work. With my resume and experience being as vast as mine I should have employers coming to me and offering work.

Is there a way we can fix this? Yes, I’ve pitched an idea in the past of government investing money towards disability employment. In a province like ours that is rapidly aging why not create some new taxpayers? Taxpayers who when they go to work can get paid and spend their earnings in their local economy.  I really believe the disability job market is such an untapped market and to me it makes so much more sense to have people with disabilities out there working instead of being at home on the system.

We have so much to offer, this is 2019, people with disabilities should be given more of a chance to enter the workforce and stay there.

Tony Ducey
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