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Autistics in the workforce

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

5 Factors to Think About

1. Encourage feedback.

Understanding what autistics find challenging or perplexing might help you better provide the kind of assistance they need. How do you know? Try asking, and encouraging feedback, especially if something seems off.

2. Be open-minded

It's about allowing someone to flourish, so be flexible with your methods of getting things done. It's not uncommon for people to prefer visual aids over verbal ones, such as photographs or graphics while attempting to understand a complex topic. This might be as simple as a diagram or a collection of figurines on the desk or as elaborate as headgear.

There is usually an explanation for a person's actions, so it's best to have an open mind, listen to them, and back them up, even if it means changing office regulations (rather than merely bending the rules, consider rewriting them all together so that everyone can feel comfortable in the office).

3. Build Trust

Take the time to create trust with your coworkers and superiors. There are still a lot of stigmas associated with disabilities. In some situations, a person on the Spectrum may not feel ready to "come out" or "disclose" all the details of their life or condition immediately. To be a good supporter, you need to be discreet and make the person you're trying to assist feel safe enough to open up to you about their struggles so you can better understand their situation.

4. Clarity and Planning

Many autistics like a routine. When a warning isn't feasible, attempt to alleviate the person's stress by providing as much information as possible about the upcoming changes or events and be there for them if they need help adjusting.

When explaining things try not to be vague or ambiguous, or use commercial jargon. Be clear and practical.

5. Sameness

Many factors are universal to all employees. As listed above, being able to "support," "listen," "trust," "clarify," and "structure" are essential qualities in a manager of any employee. It's not more work but sometimes it requires you to see things from a new angle.

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