Special Needs Now

Wanted at Microsoft: Future Employees With Autism

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Starting this year, Microsoft is recruiting people with autism. This is good news for parents raising kids with special needs (especially kids with autism) who are worried about what the future has in store.

The computer software company is working with Specialisterne, a non-profit aimed at connecting people who have autism with potential employers, on a pilot program that will help individuals transition into the technology industry.

Microsoft is the first big company in the U.S. to actively recruit people with autism, though it has been supporting autism awareness for years.

For Mary Ellen Smith, corporate vice president of worldwide operations at Microsoft, the program is a personal victory. Her son Shawn, 19, was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 years old, and she hopes that more programs like this will provide opportunities to help him reach his potential. In excerpts from an official Microsoft press release, Smith wrote:

People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft, each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code. It's a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft!

Our effort goes beyond autism. We are passionate about hiring individuals of all disabilities and we believe with them, we can create, support, and build great products and services. Our customers are diverse and we need to be as well.

Right now, full-time employees with autism will work at their Redmond, Washington headquarters, but company hopes to hire individuals with other special needs in the future.

Related: Myths About Autism

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

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