Auticon: Asperger Autisten as IT tester

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Only autistic people as IT testers

The IT service provider opened its fourth nationwide location in Frankfurt / Main on November 1st. The peculiarity of the company is that only Asperger autistic people work there as IT testers.

Only people with Asperger syndrome After Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich, the fourth location of the company Auticon has now been opened in Frankfurt / Main. Work is scheduled to begin in February 2014 and interviews with potential new IT testers are due to start in the next few weeks. As the founder of the company, Dirk Müller-Remus explained, only people with Asperger's syndrome, a weakened form of autism, should be employed as consultants, as at the other locations in the main metropolis.

Significant problems on the job market Since this form of autism often does not become apparent, but is expressed through weaknesses in social interaction and communication, it is often said: "Asperger is not diagnosed, but discovered." Often, those affected are unable to recognize verbal and non-verbal signals intuitively and are therefore often considered strange by other people. According to Müller-Remus, this means that “these people have significant problems on the job market. They have to pretend, mostly don't tell their boss about their disability, and of course dealing with these people becomes difficult. ”

Unique skills However, this adjustment is not necessary at Auticon, because the company founder explicitly relies on the strengths of Asperger's autists. They have unique skills in analytical-logical thinking, accuracy, concentration and pattern recognition and are therefore able to identify even the smallest software errors. The difficulties of social interaction caused by the illness are to be compensated for by job coaches who have direct contact with the customers.

Give as many autistic people a chance as possible By the end of next year, 15 consultants and two job coaches will work in Frankfurt. So far, 30 Asperger autistic people have worked for the company. The number of employees is expected to double by the end of 2014 and further locations are also planned. Müller-Remus explains the reasons for the growth strategy: "We want to give as many autistic people as possible throughout Germany a chance on the first job market, but to save them a change of residence, which is a major hurdle for many of those affected. And that is why we as a company have to seek proximity to our potential employees. ”All applicants should, however, generally have extensive IT skills and logical-analytical thinking.

Combining the social with the entrepreneurial One reason for the commitment to autistic people can be found in the family of the entrepreneur. This is how the idea for the concept of the Social Enterprise Auticon came about, since he himself is the father of a boy with Asperger syndrome. Müller-Remus got to know other people with Asperger in a self-help group for those affected and their relatives and found: “They were all well trained, but were all unemployed and lived on Hartz IV or other social benefits. And then I got the idea to combine the social with the entrepreneurial and to offer these people with their special skills on the job market a chance. ”

Ahead of more funding A few months ago, Matthias Dalfert, professor of applied social sciences at Regensburg University, told the dpa news agency that people with autistic disorders have a hard time on the job market. Only around five percent of autistic people work on the job market, while Asperger's Syndrome is 20 percent. "With appropriate funding, the number could be three times as high," said Dalfert. However, Auticon is not the only company that relies on the special skills of autistic people. The software company SAP also plans to fill one percent of its positions with autistic people by 2020. That roughly corresponds to the proportion of the population suffering from autism.

Autism is not curable
The majority of autism is described as a congenital, incurable disturbance of perception and information processing in the brain. The symptoms and individual manifestations of the disorder can range from mild, barely noticeable behavioral problems to severe intellectual disabilities. Common to all autistic disabilities is an impairment of social behavior. There are difficulties with speaking to other people, interpreting what is said correctly, using facial expressions and body language and understanding.

Mild form of autism Asperger syndrome is a mild form of autism. In the "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems", a catalog published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and considered the most important, worldwide recognized diagnostic classification system of medicine, three over-criteria are mentioned: A qualitative impairment of social interactions . A qualitative impairment of communication, as well as limited repetitive and stereotypical behaviors, interests and activities. (ad)

Image: Tim Reckmann /

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