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Autism and Multiple Intelligences: The Path to Work Success

Young adults with Autism (ASD) experience many difficulties at work. Sometimes disasters. Understanding Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences can help. Take the questionnaire and see how things turn out.

Young adults are up to 25-years-old. As unbelievably, young adults with Autism have held more than 3 jobs. More consistently, 80% worked part-time. Even harder to believe, 42% never worked at all. 

According to research at Drexel University (2015), they have a lower pay rate than their peers. There is a disparity in both full-time and part-time statuses. Full-time employees average $8.08/hour. Part-timers receive an average income of $9.11. 

Why are things so difficult for young adults with Autism?

  • Content knowledge
  • Job choice
  • Interest
  • Abilities (learned and natural)
  • Social skills

Self-knowledge skills help people get to know themselves better. Young adults with Autism have significantly more challenges looking inward. Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences provide a roadway to travel.

What are multiple intelligences? 

Researchers at University of Massachusetts (1996) contend that everyone is born with all intelligences. From there, they are developed over life experiences. The “intelligence profile” for young adults with Autism is most impacted by parents and teachers (Lazear, 1992).

Most people believe that everyone learns differently. Everyone reacts differently emotionally. Interests? They’re different too. 

Exactly the same way…

Multiple intelligences provide a pathway to success, especially in the workplace.

Acquiring and sharing information…

There isn’t just one answer. Combinations of the 8 characteristics tell the tale.

  • Naturalist Intelligence (nature smart): Expertise in the recognition of plants, animals, and weather formations found in the natural world. 
  • Body-Kinesthetic Intelligence (body smart): Using the whole or part of the body to solve problems. 
  • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/reasoning smart): Capacity to investigate scientifically, analyze problems, carry out math problems.
  • Interpersonal Intelligence (people smart). Capacity to understand intentions, desires, and motivation to work effectively with others.: 
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self smart): Capacity to understand self (moods, motivations, intentions). 
  • Linguistic Intelligence (word smart): Sensitive to the written and spoken word.
  • Visual-Spatial Intelligence (picture smart): Recognize and manipulate patterns in wide areas and confined spaces. 
  • Musical Intelligence (music smart): Skill in writing, performing, and playing music, beats, and tone.

Multiple intelligences provide tools for discovery. Gardner’s platform provides straight-forward ways that benefit young adults with Autism (Dunn & Perrin, 1994). The questionnaire reduces the amount of concentration needed. It makes processing easier. This leads to internalizing questions, which can be difficult.

Now it’s your turn to check out to take Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences… 

Multiple Intelligences vs. Learning Styles – What’s the Difference?

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences represent intellectual abilities. On the other hand, learning styles consider how a person approaches a range of tasks. Of course, there are different categories. Similar, but not the same.

Check out the questionnaire. Choose your first answer.


How did things turn out? The top three speak to your inner self. I guessed mine. I was right.

  • Linguistic Intelligence (word smart)
  • Interpersonal Intelligence (people smart)
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence (self smart)

1 + 1 +1 = Academic therapist who’s a blogger

I do the same with my teens and young adults with ADHD and Autism.There are always interesting conversations.

Multiple intelligences are multimodal, engaging, and meaningful. There are no right-or-wrong answers, just preferences. Best of all, they help to expand professional skills.

Good idea!

QUESTION: What are your top three intelligences? How do they match your career?

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