Workplace special needs challenges shown in reality series

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
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13 Jul 2021, 8:23 am

Workplace special needs challenges shown in new Israeli reality series

Finding a job is a challenge for everyone, but those with special needs face huge obstacles and their struggles and triumphs are the subject of a gripping and moving new reality series from Kan 11, an adaptation of a British series, Employable Me (in Hebrew, Tnu L’avod) that begins on July 14 at 9 p.m. (and will be available on the Kan 11 website).

While the fact that navigating the job market is especially difficult for those with disabilities comes as no surprise, rather than dwelling on the participants as victims, this series explores how in many ways, they manage to hone skills both in spite of and because of their challenges. These skills can make them extraordinarily productive at many jobs – if only employers will give them a chance.

It also adds a coaching element, where Ofer Golan, a clinical psychologist specializing in autism at Bar-Ilan University, and other specialists help them find out where their skills lie and prepare them for interviews.
The series lets us get to know each of the participants for who they are and emphasizes how much they have to contribute. It may make you angry at times, as they talk about how often they have been underestimated or ignored, but more often, you will root for them. The format of going through the job-search process has built-in suspense that will keep you entertained and the series is well photographed and has a nice soundtrack.

Those featured on the show include people on the autism spectrum, as well as those with Tourette Syndrome and cerebral palsy. In the first two episodes that were released to the press, the focus is on those on the autism spectrum.

The series looks at several people on the spectrum who are completely different from each other in spite of the fact that they share the same diagnostic label, illustrating a comment by Dr. Steven Shore, an American professor who is on the autism spectrum: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

The participants are a winning group and Golan is exceptionally good at explaining their challenges in a way that is illuminating and not reductive.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman