An estimated 20 percent of autistic adults are employed worldwide, including both part-time and full-time. Finding an accessible job when you’re autistic is difficult due to the accommodations required. Autism-friendly remote jobs help by allowing autistic adults to work in their own sensory environments.
How to find remote work as an autistic adult
Unfortunately, the most legitimate jobs will require some kind of experience. The good news is that you can create your own experience.
List your skills and experience
As an autistic person, you have an edge: You experience the world differently. While it doesn’t always feel like a good thing, some of your autistic traits fit into job descriptions.
- Do you interpret language literally? A positive framing is you are capable of simplifying complex topics so the information is easy to digest.
- Do you struggle to do anything that isn’t your special interest? A positive framing is you prioritize tasks and activities based on level of importance.
- Do you info-dump everything you’ve learned about your special interests? A positive framing is you are exceptional at researching topics and writing articles/reports.
- Do you notice problems before other people do? A positive framing is you have a keen eye for detail.
- Do you often spend hours focusing on one specific thing, and need a lot of noise/auditory sensory to work? A positive framing is you specialize in staying focused in busy work environments.
These are just a few examples, and companies do romanticize the autistic traits slightly, but it is also copywriting.
Shape your characteristics in a way that employers will see the benefit. Autistic traits shape autistic people’s behavior, so even if you strive to be a hard-working employee, you are still going to need to find ways to play to your strengths.
Employers want to know how you will benefit them, as opposed to how they will benefit you. Why should they hire you, of all people, for the job? The question is brutal and depressing, but it is just business to them.
Create your own experience
Employers want proof of dedication and expertise, even if they say that you don’t need any experience at all. Any job that requires no experience on the internet, unless they are thoroughly reputable, is going to be a scam. They will usually try to charge you for training, or have you video chat with somebody else.
The best way to show your expertise for remote work is by maintaining a blog (editorial, articles, etc.), growing a social media account (social media management), or by maintaining a digital portfolio of similar things you have done for other people.
Most remote jobs are going to be at tech companies, even if they are not directly related to tech. Netflix, for example, is a tech company that outsources video production to film studios. They do not actually produce the movies or TV shows themselves — they just maintain the software.
You can create a portfolio by working with small businesses or providing services to bloggers.
Any job application that requests a sample (free labor), unless from a highly reputable source that you deem worth the risk, should be avoided. This will help you avoid scams and working for free. Some companies claiming to be looking for remote employees are actually accepting sample pieces from applicants that they then use for content and do not pay for it.
Search for remote jobs
When searching for a remote job, be as specific as possible. No job is going to be listed as neurodivergent-friendly. Even if they say they are welcoming of neurodivergence, they might not be — these statements are just statements to give the impression that there is no prejudice.
Real Ways to Earn is one of the most active resources for remote jobs, but some of the jobs posted are not thoroughly vetted. If you have no experience, you are either going to be working for the mere chance of making up to a certain amount per hour due to saturation or struggling to find someone who will take you seriously.
Start with the sites you visit the most. At the footer, there should be a “jobs” or “careers” link that takes you to their available opportunities. You can also Google “(company or site) +careers”.
Best remote jobs for autistic people
Common remote jobs autistic adults excel in:
- Social media
- Web development/design
- Video editing
- Virtual assistant services
Self-employed autistic adults
Most every page out there about finding work as an autistic adult recommends self-employment because you get control of your environment, when you work, how you work, and the ability to accommodate yourself.
Apart from running a handmade business, autistic adults find solace in blogging or virtual assistant services.
Perhaps the most common work autistic adults do remotely is blogging due to the low social interaction involved. Niche blogs focus on one to two topics, which is perfect for autistic special interests.
Many autistic adults find they struggle to maintain full-time jobs, remote work or not, because they burn out within a few months. Our resumes have a lot of gaps and look like we job hopped, when we just struggled to cope.
Blogging takes a lot of time to jump off, but freelance writing is also an option. The two can go together, too.
I personally find blog flipping helps me, because I also have ADHD hyperfixations. Sometimes, I will struggle to finish something or lose interest after I learn everything about a topic. That’s when I decide to sell the blog.
Blog flipping is a lucrative industry and does require some technique. None of the courses in existence are tailored specifically for neurodivergent individuals, however, so it is a risk.
Virtual assistance is another hard hitter for autistic adults. Although there is a lot of client interaction, autistic adults prefer the ability to set their own schedules and work with clients on their own terms.
As a virtual assistant, you get to choose who you work with and how you work with them. In other words, you could work in the field of your special interest without having direct experience.
For example, if you don’t have the degree required to work at a zoo because college was not accessible to you, you might be able to offer social media management services to a zoo. They might offer you a few days a week or month to visit the zoo to take photos. You might gain behind the scenes access.
Finding a remote job as an autistic adult boils down to how well you package yourself. Everyone is packaging themselves to essentially be sold to their employer. It is basic marketing.
Autistic people do not experience the world from an able-bodied point of view by default. Embrace the things that make you, yourself. If the best example you have of your dedication is researching everything you could after your autism diagnosis, use that.
Turn your different experiences into a story. It doesn’t have to be inspiring — it just needs to stand out.
Have you or an autistic loved one found a job or career that works for you? Share about it in the comments below.