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Autistic business owners capitalize on strengths

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 13, 2014 at 11:25 am •  Published: August 13, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — A growing movement to find work for autistic people is helping some start their own businesses.

Work requiring an attention to detail and with repetitive tasks is ideal for an autistic person who wants to start a business, says Gregg Ireland, co-founder of Extraordinary Ventures, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based organization that creates jobs for the autistic. Ireland's son Vinnie, who is autistic, has a business doing yard work and landscaping.

One in 68 people have some form of autism, according to government figures. It is diagnosed more often in males than in females. There are different degrees of autism; many people have trouble communicating, comprehending spoken or written words and interacting with others. In the most severe cases, autistic people cannot speak or interact with others, are unable to learn and need lifetime care.

There are many misconceptions about the autistic. Some people believe they are violent, not intelligent and that they either don't want to work or can't work hard, says Michael Rosen, an executive vice president with Autism Speaks, a research and advocacy organization.

People with the mildest forms of autism are able to attend mainstream schools including college. Many do well at jobs that focus on details. They may struggle in jobs that require them to have continual contact with co-workers or the public.

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