Under employment is common amongst adults who have been diagnosed with Autism. According to the Forbes website, only 15% of adults living with autism in the United Kingdom are in employment. Here at Swanstaff Recruitment, one of our main core values is to provide equal opportunities for all. Therefore, we have put together some top tips on how to support your employees with Autism, check it out…
A common way of receiving communication is in writing. This gives people with Autism longer to process the information, and it can be referred back to and easily confirmed when needed. Whatever your employee’s preferred method of communication, your communication will be better understood when it is clear, obvious and direct – using non-emotive language and bullet points, tables, or lists, to separate information and so it makes easier to read.
Many people with Autism are visual thinkers and find it difficult to naturally plan and organise. Using visual materials, both hard copy and electronic, can be really useful in helping your employee to remain on track and meet deadlines whilst at work. Whiteboards, checklists, calendars, timetabling, using planners, diaries and project management tools can really make a difference.
From knowing what to wear to knowing that it is expected that we contribute to collections for birthday gifts and special occasions – the unwritten rules of the workplace are not always easily understood, or sometimes even known to exist, by people with Autism.
The unwritten rules can be just as important as the written policies and procedures that we agree to when we start work for an employer, and are vital in helping to build good working relationships with our colleagues. Try writing down your workplace’s unwritten rules for your employee and pin them to their desk– this will provide guidance and avoid potential misunderstandings.
Many workplaces are sources of sensory contributions that people without Autism may not notice on a day to day basis, such as harsh lighting and glare from the windscreens of passing traffic, the noise of air conditioning machines, phones or printers, smells from people’s lunches or deodorants or changes in air temperature.
People with Autism may struggle with any or all of these and can be much more aware of even fairly low levels of inputs. By changing the location of your employee’s work space or providing noise-cancelling headphones or even by considering some home working time, the sensory overload and anxiety can be minimised and productivity can be increased.
Organisations, such as the National Autistic Society, have many free resources available to help employers to support employees who have Autism. Also, the governments Access to Work scheme has been set up to consider funding applications for many different types of reasonable adjustments in the workplace including assistive resources, Support Workers, training and workplace assessments.
Can you think of any other ways to support employees with Autism that we may have missed? Let us know by getting in contact with us on our socials!