Different Types of Autism : A Guide

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The Different Types of Autism: A Guide

In the United States, over 5 million adults live with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An autism diagnosis can mean so many different things.

While some people lead fairly normal lives with a spectrum disorder, others severely struggle with the basics of life. Keep reading to learn about the different types of autism and how they can impact looking for a job.

Kanner's Syndrome

People tend to recognize Kanner's Syndrome as the classic form of autism. Parents will often notice signs of this disorder shortly after birth.

The baby may not make eye contact and this continues through life. Even as children, physical touch may upset people with this ASD.

They lack empathy and therefore struggle with building emotional connections with other people. While some people do not speak at all with Kanner's Syndrome, others struggle significantly with speech.

With this spectrum disorder, people may deeply focus on one object, and move it around for long periods of time. They struggle with emotional regulation and most types of learning but often possess incredible visuospatial skills.

Asperger's Syndrome

Though no longer accepted as an official diagnosis, most people recognize the name "Asperger's Syndrome" for this ASD. The official diagnostic name for it is Level One Autism Spectrum Disorder.

People with Asperger's tend to struggle with social norms. This can make social interactions awkward as they say things others may find inappropriate or do not pick up on regular social cues.

For example, they may continuously interrupt a conversation or offer way more information than solicited by another party. This may seem rude, but it simply comes from no totally understanding the typical dynamic of socialization.

This ASD presents with a need for sameness. People with it do not like change and they tend to get extremely focused on a limited number of interests.

Despite a lack of social skills, people with Asperger's possess heightened intellectual abilities. They pick up on patterns and details unusually well. 

If this person puts their mind to something, they tend to focus hard and persist. Often they end up very knowledgeable in their interests and they work well at their jobs because of this. Finding a job that fits their interest will benefit both the employee and their employer.

Asperger's syndrome can cause sensitivity to stimuli, like lights and sounds. It also presents with an awkward gate. The person may appear clumsy as well.

People with Asperger's often struggle with depression and anxiety. But, their strong intellectual abilities give them a solid edge on certain aspects of life.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Babies born with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder typically appear to function normally. But, around the age of two or three, these children begin to experience significant developmental disintegrations in motor skills, language, social and functional progress.

They regress with basically all of the skills that they learn. People with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder can also suffer from seizures. This makes everyday life a challenge.

Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome affects only 1 in 10,000 girls. When this rare genetic disorder does affect boys, they tend to suffer more severely.

Signs of regression begin to develop around 6-18 months of age. These children lose communication and motor skills. They also struggle with walking, eating, and even breathing.


Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) refers to a generally mild form of autism. As children, they tend to miss benchmarks and grow up slightly lagging behind their peers.

People with PPD-NOS may experience a number of mild issues found in other types of autism. But, they miss major benchmarks to diagnose one of the more prominent spectrum disorders.

If people with this ASD receive interventions early on, they may catch up enough that the learning gap is difficult to notice. But, they may still struggle with specific issues throughout life.

Finding Jobs for People With Autism

Finding a job with autism can seem difficult. But, people with autism can not only work but actually excel in the right position. Here are a few tips for finding jobs with higher functioning kinds of autism.

Record Strengths and Weaknesses

Everybody seeking a job should discover their strengths and weaknesses to find a job that suits them well. But, it is especially important for those living with autism, since certain characteristics of their spectrum disorder may make certain careers unrealistic. If you cannot think of your strengths, ask people you know what they think you are good at. 

Apply Interests

With autism, many people develop very pointed interests. They may even fall into obsession. 

Use this to your advantage when job seeking. Find a job you can all the knowledge to.

For instance, if you find yourself immersed in all things giraffe see if your local zoo is hiring. If you like working with people and teaching about the things you learn, maybe they can hire you to stand by the giraffe exhibit and educate people. Or, if you would rather stay away from people, possibly you would enjoy keeping things clean where you can walk by the giraffe every day.

Sometimes staying away from stimuli feels better. If you find interest in building puzzles, maybe a behind-the-scenes computer engineering position would make a great fit!

Communicate Your Needs

When meeting with a prospective employer, do not keep your needs or your limitations quiet. This important piece will help you ensure that you are choosing the right work environment for you.

Legally, companies cannot turn you away due to a disability. And there are certain accommodations they must make. Expressing your needs and limitations upfront can help avoid frustration later.

Working With Different Types of Autism

Working with different types of autism can pose unique struggles. But, it also allows for a sense of independence and pride. 

You are capable! It is only a matter of finding the right fit for you.

We have made it our mission to help people like you find work in order to reduce the significant amount of unemployed people with disabilities. Our organization attracts employers who want you for their company.

To get started, create a resume for yourself on our website!