Company hires adults with autism to test software

By CARLA K. JOHNSON | September 21, 2011 | 3:15 AM EDT

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — A software testing company in suburban Chicago has an unusual workforce. The nonprofit Aspiritech hires young adults with autism.

Traits that make great software testers such as intense focus, comfort with repetition and memory for detail also happen to be characteristics of autism. People with a mild form of autism called Asperger's syndrome have normal to high intelligence and often are highly skilled with computers.

The company in Highland Park, Illinois, nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable. They can be socially awkward, have poor eye contact and can get easily overwhelmed.

Aspiritech is among a handful of companies around the world either hiring or training adults with autism as software testers