World Autism Awareness Day

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Health Assured team

21 March 2023

World Autism Day takes place annually on 2nd April to raise awareness and increase acceptance of Autism & Autism Spectrum Disorder. This year is no different, and we’ll be looking at the theme of Transformation: Toward a Neuro-Inclusive world for All.

The Neurodiversity movement has already helped to switch up the story—and we’re now seeing a turn away from curing autistic people to understanding how we can support people with autism to thrive.

This shift in perspective encourages workplaces to start supporting their employees in more productive ways. It also allows autistic people to overcome barriers—because everyone should be treated as equals with equal opportunities and support from others.

We want to help transform the narrative around autism. So in this article, we’re looking at what you can do in the workplace to support an autistic employee.

Employing someone with autism 

Autism affects how people perceive the world and interact with others; this can show up differently for different people and can also occur alongside other conditions like learning disabilities or mental health conditions.

Yet, people with autism can be a huge credit to the workforce and excel in areas that require:

  • High levels of concentration
  • Reliability, conscientiousness, and persistence
  • Close attention to detail
  • Technical ability
  • Detailed knowledge
  • Excellent memory

Some jobs are extremely suited to autistic people. But sometimes, people with autism will need a little extra support if they are to thrive in their roles. So we’ve put together some tips below to help you.

Adequate inductions 

When an autistic person first starts in the role, they might need an extra hand identifying expectations of them on a day-to-day basis. Try to be as explicit as you can about the tasks that need completing. If you can, it might also be helpful to outline any social etiquette or cultural norms your organisation adheres to, as it can sometimes be hard for autistic people to pick up on these social cues.

Training is critical 

Another way you can help employees with autism settle in is with an in-depth training programme that’s as clear as possible. Perhaps you could assign a member of the team as a mentor who’s on hand to answer questions, maybe you can provide job-specific training or create materials that employees can refer to when they are on the job.  

Regular catch ups

If you’re a line manager, ensure you’re holding regular meetings with each of your team as individuals. These meetings provide a chance for you to feedback to employees, and it also offers them an opportunity to raise any issues should they have any.

When providing feedback to autistic employees, remember that they can sometimes find it difficult to pick up on social cues, so try to make your feedback constructive and concise.

Instead of criticising the person, try to check they have understood and provide tips for getting it right next time. Keep in mind that autistic people may have a history of being criticised or bullied, leading to low self-esteem. Where you can, reframe any feedback with positive points about things they are doing well.

Making positive shifts in the workplace

We should strive to make all workplaces diverse and inclusive of people from all walks of life. And by making small shifts in how you support others—you can radically change the culture of your workforce to feel more like a community than ever before. You can find more information about this in our guide below. 

Discover how an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can help your organisation or business with coping with autism in the workplace. 

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