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Company Trains the Autistic To Test Software 419

Aspiritech, a Chicago based non-profit company, has launched a program to train high-functioning autistic people as testers for software development companies. The company says autistics have a talent for spotting imperfections, and thrive on predictable, monotonous work. Aspiritech is not the first company to explore the idea of treating this handicap as a resource. Specialisterne, a Danish company founded in 2004, also trains autistics. They hire their workforce out as hourly consultants to do data entry, assembly line jobs and work that many would find tedious and repetitive.


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Company Trains the Autistic To Test Software

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  • by shadowofwind ( 1209890 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @08:50PM (#30383514)

    They own the future.

  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:16PM (#30383768)

    engineering is a more suitable job for me than say pole dancing

    Agghhh!!! Image of engineer pole dancing... Thanks mate, you've just ruined my lunch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:40PM (#30383938)

    This is no surprise Microsoft has been using the retarded as a QA team for windows security for YEARS

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:41PM (#30383942)
    These names seem to be disparaging. Would you work for a contract agency named Shortbusstaffers or a software company named Weonlyhirethementallydifferent?
  • by isa-kuruption ( 317695 ) <> on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:57PM (#30384052) Homepage

    Slashdot has been hiring mentally handicapped people as moderators since 1997. Now that's truly groundbreaking!

  • by mestar ( 121800 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:05PM (#30384110)

    Company Trains the Autistic To Test Software

    But if somebody has written some software to train autistic people, it would be:

    "Company Tests Software to Train the Autistic"

    What if a weird consultant is to do some work for some developer tools company:

    "The Autistic to Train a Test Software Company"

    What if some ill behaved company is about to release its Railroad tycoon clone:

    "The Autistic Company to Test Software Trains"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:10PM (#30384132)

    Just because you only understand verbose programming (read: JAVA) doesn't mean there aren't millions of qualified programmers who understand concise code (read: C/C++). Also, read "less/more efficient to code" for "java/C"!

  • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jazz-Masta ( 240659 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:32PM (#30384282)

    There have been corresponding declines [] in the diagnosis of mental retardation.

    If anything there has been a huge increase. They just call it different things - autism, down syndrome, middle management, liberal arts...

  • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @11:07PM (#30384502) Homepage

    ... forum posting...

  • by palmerj3 ( 900866 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:24AM (#30384910) Homepage
    I work at Microsoft testing software I wear paper hats. Would you like a bug with thaaaat. Would you like a bug with thaaaat.
  • by Cythrawl ( 941686 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:36AM (#30384970)

    It amazes me how you can make a diagnosis of my son, from what I am typing and how I type it.. I suggest you become the Doctor of all Doctors and stop trying to diagnose people by their grammar or spelling. My grammar may not be that great, but there were no spelling errors Mr Troll.

    Anyway here are the definitions of them so you can make a more objectionable diagnosis Mr Miracle Doctor. I have marked with an hash (or pound) (#) the symptoms my son has, not all of them together are needed to make an autism diagnosis.

    Mental Retardation:

    Mental retardation is a condition diagnosed before age 18 that includes below-average general intellectual function, and a lack of the skills necessary for daily living.


    * Continued infantile behavior

    * Decreased learning ability

    * Failure to meet intellectual developmental markers

    * Inability to meet educational demands at school

    * Lack of curiosity

    Note: Changes to normal behaviors depend on the severity of the condition. Mild retardation may be associated with a lack of curiosity and quiet behavior. Severe mental retardation is associated with infantile behavior throughout life.


    Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.

    Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time the child is 18 months old and seek help by the time the child is age 2. Children with autism typically have difficulties in:

    * Pretend play

    * Social interactions

    * Verbal and nonverbal communication

    Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly "regress" and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.

    People with autism may:

    * Be overly sensitive in sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste (for example, they may refuse to wear "itchy" clothes and become distressed if they are forced to wear the clothes)

    * Have unusual distress when routines are changed *

    * Perform repeated body movements

    * Show unusual attachments to objects

    The symptoms may vary from moderate to severe.

    Communication problems may include:

    * Cannot start or maintain a social conversation

    * Communicates with gestures instead of words

    * Develops language slowly or not at all

    * Does not adjust gaze to look at objects that others are looking at

    * Does not refer to self correctly (for example, says "you want water" when the child means "I want water")

    * Does not point to direct others' attention to objects (occurs in the first 14 months of life)

    * Repeats words or memorized passages, such as commercials #

    * Uses nonsense rhyming

    Social interaction:

    * Does not make friends

    * Does not play interactive games

    * Is withdrawn

    * May not respond to eye contact or smiles, or may avoid eye contact

    * May treat others as if they are objects

    * Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others #

    * Shows a lack of empathy

    Response to sensory information:

  • Re:Dupe (Score:3, Funny)

    by kabloom ( 755503 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:10AM (#30385156) Homepage

    Exactly my point. There probably aren't more actual cases of autism -- we just got better at identifying them as autism. (Now I feel like I overestimated the intelligence of the Slashdot crowd, assuming they'd all get the inference, and that I didn't need to spell it out.)

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:46AM (#30385286) Homepage
    C is terse, but sometimes it's not concise. Python is what I'd call 'pithy'.
  • by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:37AM (#30385884)

    Sorry, but the future involves foraging for food and ammo in a post-apocalyptic world. Peak oil happened in 2007, my friend -- be prepared for the consequences.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:38AM (#30385886)

    I think I may have a mild form of hypochondria...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:51PM (#30389864)

    I don’t think you get it. Being brutally honest is not always a good thing.

    For someone who is socially inept, it is hard to know when to take the edge off the truth.

    “This bench is scratching my legs” should never be answered with “that’s because your shorts are too short.” Yes, I learned that the hard way.

The other line moves faster.