It’s not many people who would donate a $250,000 severance check to charity in this day and age of unemployment, but Marcia Scheiner didn’t hesitate doing so after receiving that check from a New York financial services company after she had worked there for 25 years.
Scheiner is leaving her generous gift to the Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership, a nonprofit organization she organized to help young adults with Asperger syndrome get a job.
The organization was inspired by her son, who is in his first year of college. Scheiner said that a whole generation of young adults with Asperger’s who are between 20 and 30 years old are heading to college, but may still face high unemployment rates.
Data from the National Institutes of Health estimates that two out of 10,000 children have Asperger syndrome, which exists on the autism spectrum of disorders, but wasn’t well known until the 1980s.
There is no actual cure for it, but there are effective therapeutic treatments that help people with Asperger’s live independently. However, due to some of the symptoms of the disease, such as problems with forming a relationship and the inability in some cases to look someone in the eye, sometimes causes them issues in getting hired, according to Scheiner.
Scheiner and her organization plan to focus on teaching employers how to understand Asperger’s patients better and show them what type of accommodations need to be made, such as providing and promoting training colleagues so if they can understand any Asperger behaviors and know how to respond to them.
Scheiner says people with Asperger’s are usually very loyal and focused employees who tend to stay in an entry level position longer than most college grads.
She added that hiring more people with Asperger’s can also help companies meet their diversity targets and meet their social responsibility agendas.