IT program to change career outlook for kids with autism

Published 26 October 2016

Teenagers with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are wanted for an innovative new community program that aims to bring more ASD people into the workforce.

The Armidale-based project, which will teach ASD teenagers information technology (IT) skills, is a collaboration between the University of New England and the Hunter New England Family and Community Services (HNEFACS).

Professor Chris Sharpley from UNE’s School of Science and Technology says the aim is to give ASD teenagers the skills that will help them get a job in the IT industry.

Chris Sharpley[1]

“There are IT companies in Germany who have hired several hundred people with ASD because they excel at this type of skill set,” said Prof. Sharpley.

Students will learn new IT skills from a UNE academic in Computer Science.

“They will be learning things like how to build a web page or develop a computer game. As researchers, we will be measuring the attitudes these students have towards IT and careers in IT.”

The program is looking for applicants between the ages of ten and seventeen. It will involve weekly two-hour sessions for six weeks, starting in November.