There is much information in the public domain relating to employment and to autism. There is significantly less information focusing on autism and self-employment.
We believe passionately that for some people with autism, self-employment is an important and suitable option:
- People with autism have significant, unique and often very specialist skills.
- Self-employment can lead to greater confidence and self esteem.
- Self-employment can mean that some of the common challenges in working for and alongside others can be avoided.
- Self-employment is not just for those with a service or product in which they can be fully financially independent.
- Self-employment can exist at a ‘microenterprise’ level (for example a person who produces their own home-made, high quality greetings cards). Their business is unlikely to result in complete financial independence, however, they can still benefit extensively from the status, the financial gains and the increased feelings of confidence and self worth.
Consequently, we believe in the inclusion of self employment in the spectrum of positive occupational outcomes that people can aspire to.
However, our experiences highlight that there are barriers to self employment for many people with autism:
- Fear of losing the security of regular benefits and in turn the possible financial hardship.
- Low self-esteem resulting in lack of belief that self employment is possible or achievable.
- Lack of support and advice that is appropriate for somebody with autism.
- Difficulty in accessing finance for a business.
- Lack of ongoing support.
- Self employment is just not considered as an option.
IWORK4ME helps its clients overcome these barriers and champions self-employment as a viable career possibility. Particularly if we acknowledge the great achievements by people with autism from which society has benefited, we can’t afford not to maximise the potential of every person with autism.