Hey, my name is Chelsea Brüning and currently, I’m studying Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy in the master’s program at MSB Medical School Berlin.
Due to some experiences I gained personally and non-personally, I’ve been trying to understand and find counter-measures against discrimination. In the last year of my bachelor’s program, I met Dr Timo Lorenz who is actively approaching the discrimination against people on the autism spectrum and wanting to help people gain better chances on the job market.
I was able to be a part of The IMAGE project and helped with data collection, getting in touch with many people on the spectrum. That already invited me to see the bigger picture. But the project also allowed me to combine my passion of fighting discrimination and helping minorities. In my bachelor thesis which focuses on the discrimination against autistic students and employees, I found that formality and social barriers seem to be the major obstacles for an autistic individual to enter the labour market, and that these obstacles are strongly associated with discrimination itself.
In order to obtain a job or sustain it, people on the autism spectrum face more barriers than neurotypical individuals in this ever-changing world. Challenges with adaptation and social interaction may be considered weaknesses but that’s taking a very narrow view in which positive aspects, such as autistic strengths, are entirely neglected. Such strengths can be attention to detail, an immense concentration ability and high reliability, which are characteristics that are regarded as eminently desirable on the job market.
In my master thesis and future research, I’m planning to enlarge upon the discrimination of autistic people even further to hopefully help enabling a less discriminatory world for them.