“George glares at me from behind his desk. His hair is buzzed short and his mouth is set in a sneer. He asks about my prior work experience, then replies sarcastically, ‘Okay, well, what you’d be doing here would be a little different from that.’ This would be the toughest job interview I’ve ever been on, if it were real.”
But it’s NOT real. George is a digital avatar, a “virtual job interviewer” used to teach interview and workplace skills to young adults with autism. A recent article in “Spectrum News” highlighted the fact that many very capable individuals with autism have difficulty finding jobs after high school due to a lack of relevant experience, as well as social-communication issues that make the interview process challenging. As part of a nationwide effort, the Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is using innovative technology to increase employment opportunities and support services for adults with autism. Together with researchers at the University of Southern California, the DMF team developed “ViTA DMF,” a virtual interviewing software that uses avatars to simulate a real job interview.
Check out the full Spectrum News article here!
For more information about George and the VITA DMF project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, organizations such as Autism Speaks and the Arc offer other online resources and materials for potential employees as well as employers. An employer’s guide to hiring and retaining employees with ASD can be found here!