For Some With Autism, Jobs to Match Their Talents

By David Bornstein

Thorkil Sonne

A sketch, right, of an index page in a book of maps, drawn from memory by the 7-year-old Lars Sonne, who has autism, showed a talent for visual reproduction.

Steen B. Iversen tests mobile phones for the Danish telecommunications firm TDC. Before landing his job two and a half years ago, Iversen, 50, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, spent more than 12 years looking for work. “It’s always been somewhat traumatizing,” he said. “I have had jobs, but I always got fired. People would laugh about me behind my back and laugh at me to my face. Those problems have more or less been a problem for me from childhood.”

In the working world, Iversen said, his biggest problem was communication. “Most of the time it simply was that people didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them,” he said.
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