Chicago tech company Aspiritech believes in hiring adults with autism

Aspiritech, a software testing company in Chicago, has become one of the city's fastest-growing tech startups. The company founder, Brenda Weitzberg, believes that this is largely because her team is almost entirely made up of people on the autism spectrum.

Weitzberg believes that people with autism have strengths like focus, attention to detail and strong visual processing skills, which fit right into the needs of software testing. She believes that people with autism are a good vocational fit.

Weisberg founded Aspiritech with her husband, Moshe, in 2008. This was after they saw their son, who has Asperger’s, struggle to obtain and stay in a job that fit his education and strengths.

They were inspired by the story of Specialisterne, a Danish software testing and development firm that employs people with autism spectrum disorder.

Weitzberg says they struggled in the beginning. They found it hard to get funding, but they grew organically and learned.

Today, Aspiritech’s client list includes top companies like Bose, Zebra Technologies and Empire Today. The company has 85 employees, of which 75 are on the autism spectrum.

Prospective employees go through a two-week training course in software testing. Once hired, they also receive on-the-job training and coaching.

There is an in-house support staff, which includes a part-time social worker, to help employees deal with anxiety or depression. Aspiritech also hires neurotypical employees and offers them special training.

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