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Autistic People May Be Ideal Software Testers

FILE - A mother with an autistic child.

People who suffer from neural development disorder known as autism often have trouble finding employment because of their communication difficulties and repetitive patterns of behavior. Some of them also are remarkably gifted, though, in manipulating and organizing complex numbers, sounds or shapes, which- - according to the U.S. autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks -- makes them ideal for the job of the software tester.

Most of today’s algorithms consist of long lines of computer codes that have to be organized in a particular way in order to flawlessly execute whatever jobs they were designed for. Before they are released to the user, algorithms are subjected to extensive tests for finding and rectifying all flaws called ‘bugs’.

Scientists say sharp focus, memory and ability to recognize patterns, of some autistic individuals, could be very useful for checking computer codes or even quality testing.

At least two companies, one in Belgium and the other in Canada, are already providing training for autistic individuals to turn what some people see as disadvantage into a valuable asset.