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Creating Cyber Opportunities for Neurodiverse Kids

Monday, April 25, 2022

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

Chetrice Mosley-RomeroOf all the things that can happen as a part of our kids’ future there’s almost nothing that can create as much anxiety as preparing them for life after high school.

This is especially true for my youngest boy, who was diagnosed at age five with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. But even through his social struggles and his very black and white perspective on life, I have seen him flourish with STEM and has recently shown interest in cyber-related activities.

As a mom with a kid who struggles with seeing himself as ever having a “normal’ life, it is encouraging to know there are people like him out there who are leading the way in cybersecurity.

I was reminded about this a few days ago when I found myself reflecting about a recent Wall Street Journal article called “Neurodiverse Candidates Find Niche in Remote Cybersecurity Jobs.” In reading about the success of some amazing people, who are neurodiverse (a relatively new term that includes conditions, such as autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia) and who have taken on the complex world of cybersecurity, I found myself hopeful about his future after high school.

What’s significant about this? People who are neurodivergent possess a skill set that includes traits such as hyperfocus, precision, persistence, along with an ability to identify patterns. And it is exactly these types of skills that are invaluable for assessing cyber risks, analyzing suspicious online activity, and performing a variety of other security jobs – here in Indiana, across the country and around the world.

At a time when it’s estimated there are more than 2.7 million cybersecurity jobs that are unfilled worldwide, as indicated in the article, hiring more neurodiverse candidates could help address the talent shortages that exists within the cyber industry.

As a mom of a neurodiverse son, one of the best sources of information that’s out there is the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability and Inclusion EARN’s Neurodiversity in the Workplace Toolkit. This toolkit explores the “why” and “how” of capitalizing on the neurodivergent talent pool. After all, many neurodivergent people—and their satisfied employers—will tell you that their disabilities are assets that bring benefits to businesses and employees alike. This is a resource I would highly recommend for schools, parents, and employers.

And as you may know, April is Autism Acceptance Month and what better way to celebrate our differences by adding to the diversity of our collective workforce by supporting neurodivergent employees while, at the same time, create opportunities to make our world safer and more cybersecure.

And even though my son will most certainly have a lot of challenges as he moves through the school system and life, it is a bit comforting that cybersecurity is a world he can not only be a part of, but more importantly thrive in. When you think about, it’s what any parent would want for their kid.

To learn more about cyber careers in the Hoosier State, be sure to visit our Indiana Cyber Hub webpage at: