Now, when it comes to work, there are multiple avenues you can venture into; Retail, E-Commerce, Education, Hospitality. You name it, there’s a job somewhere out there!
However, I feel what isn’t talked about as much when work is mentioned in a conversation is people who are on the Autistic Spectrum and how workplaces can accommodate people with the disability.
As, being on the spectrum myself, many people seem to assume that every autistic person is the same. Those words couldn’t be any more of a lie! This assumption could be said the same for people who are not on the spectrum as every person is different within society.
Now, I’m going to be talking about how to understand and expand the accommodation for autistic people and I will be using various sources to help support the points I would like to get across.
Why Employ A Autistic Person?
The obvious answer would be to help companies advertise that they are inclusive and understand that they don’t discriminate against people who work for them.
According to the “National Autistic Society”, autistic people are surprisingly clever and have high levels of concentration, are able to pay close attention to detail, have very good IT skills and have an excellent memory.
Furthermore, autistic people can also sometimes do certain jobs better than a person who isn’t on the spectrum (especially if it is associated with a hobby that they enjoy!) However, according to a guide from “EqualityNI”, autistic people tend to not understand certain things like metaphors, similes or sarcasm when communicating with workers or people in general.
Advertising The Job:
Something else to consider is how to make the advertisement for the job role “autism friendly”. This can be done (according to “EqualityNI”) by showcasing the main skills needed and making sure that the job advert is clearly worded and is specific within describing what type of person you want to employ.
However, it is advised not to list things such as “excellent communication skills” as many autistic people can struggle with this. Also, when presenting the job role, it should be clear for a person on the spectrum by not having all of the information on a complex looking advertisement.
When you invite a person who is on the spectrum for a face to face interview. There are some things that you may need to consider during the interview:
- Make sure the area the person is going to be interviewed in is comfortable and relaxed
- Always be clear and concise with them
- Avoid abstract language such as “blowing your own trumpet”
- Reduce the amount of hypothetical questions as a person on the spectrum may find it hard to project themselves that far in the future
- A person on the spectrum may struggle with “selling themselves” and will be truthful rather than elaborate on their good points
- Being accompanied by a person who can help rephrase the questions asked
- Give time to complete a written test that contains short and concise questions
Supporting An Autistic Person:
Now, when a person who is on the spectrum is successful and starts their first few weeks, there is something to consider, how do you support an autistic person? Well, according to “EqualityNI”, you can support them by making simple adjustments such as:
- Employing a colleague to act as a mentor
- Outsource support from external organisations to help assist autistic people
- Arrange meetings that will train staff how to understand autistic people
- Use a job coach to establish a good employment partnership
Gaining support from the manager can also help support an autistic person in the workplace. The support that would help make an autistic person comfortable would be:
- Not assuming things straight away when a problem occurs
- Precisely explaining and specifically detailing tasks
- Having one-to-one meetings every so often
- Making sure the autistic person is involved in team related things
- Taking into account the environment that the person will be working within
Overall, autism in the workplace can be very easily handled. Make sure there is enough research and knowledge spread across the workplace that the person who is on the spectrum may consider applying. Make sure that they get enough support which is absolutely vital so that they can feel welcomed. As for every new team member, it’s important that if they need help they can speak to any of their colleagues.