How You Can Support Your Autistic Employees

How You Can Support Your Autistic Employees

Many people with autism spectrum are highly intelligent individuals with exceptional skills valuable in various working environments.

They often have a range of capabilities, including high levels of concentration, attention to detail, technical ability, excellent memory, reliability, persistence, and so on.

Although they may experience difficulties with certain things, with the right techniques, you can support your autistic employees at work.

One way to support an autistic employee is to create inclusive hiring practices for them.

Unlike the traditional hiring methods that focus on social and communication skills, you can pay more attention to their actual skill sets and strengths.

Also, you can aid their work productivity by providing job clarifications.

Autistic people work much more efficiently in a workplace when there are laid down rules, principles, patterns, and methods to follow.

In addition, an autistic individual may find the work environment uncomfortable if they are experiencing sensory problems.

People with autism often have certain sensory stimulations that they are overly sensitive to.

You can provide reasonable adjustments if possible by inquiring about their sensory differences.

Consider this detailed overview to learn more ways you can support your autistic employees: 

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Leigh Harlan, LPC

Leigh Harlan, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Andreea Felea, LPC

Andreea Felea, LPC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Annalise Saylor, LPCC

Annalise Saylor, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342

Inclusive Hiring Practices 

These days, the standards for requirement procedures indeliberately create a barrier for autistic candidates applying for a job.

This often lowers their chances of successfully scaling through the recruitment stage.

Thus, you can support an autistic employee during the requirement and hiring process by making reasonable adjustments for .people with disabilities.

You can start by making a few adjustments to your interview process.

The traditional interview process pays more attention to communication skills and social conduct, which might be difficult for an autistic person.

During an interview, ask direct questions based on the autistic candidates' experiences rather than general or hypothetical questions.

It is vital to remain patient and considerate as an autistic person might answer questions literally, avoid eye contact while speaking, or may over-explain.

Likewise, ensure that the events before the recruitment stage are clearly structured.

Endeavor to provide information on interview location, interviewers' names, timetable of events during the interview, and interview questions in advance.

The interview should also take place in a conducive and safe environment.

Understand Their Sensory Sensitivities 

Autistic individuals often develop hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, which may deter their concentration and work performance when overloaded.

You can support your autistic employees by understanding their sensory sensitivities and making reasonable adjustments for them.

Although some autistic individuals are vocal about their sensitivities, others may prefer to mask them due to fear of misunderstandings or stigmatization.

If you're unsure about their sensitivities, endeavor to ask questions.

Once aware of their sensory sensitivities, you can make your workplace a comfortable environment for your autistic employees.

Autistic employees may benefit from noise-canceling headphones, working at a corner desk or in a secluded but spacious environment.

In addition, it can be beneficial if other employees are aware of their autistic colleague's sensory sensitivities.

With their permission, ensure other colleagues are aware of their difficulty with specific sensory stimulations and sensory overload.

Provide Clarification About Their Work

Most people with autism strictly adhere to rules and thrive on routines, especially in a work environment.

However, they may find it challenging to adapt to a workplace without clear expectations or rules to follow.

Thus, you can support your autistic employees by explicitly stating the rules and regulations of the job and your expectations from them as staff members.

After hiring an autistic individual, ensure to provide clear and structured training.

This training can be performed on the job by a mentor, colleague, or manager, or may be a more formal general training for recruits.

Either way, ensure they are adequately trained and monitored on their assigned tasks.

Furthermore, an autistic person is more productive at work when given concise and specific instructions on their tasks.

When dealing with an autistic employee, ensure they are provided with clear instructions on how to perform a task from start to finish.

Do not assume they will pick up informal or ambiguous instructions.

Ask Questions 

Often, people with autism hide or mask their struggles in a work environment due to fear of being misunderstood, inconveniencing others, or standing out in a bad light.

You can support your employees and ease their work life by asking them meaningful questions.

For one, you can consider asking about the challenges they face in the work environment.

This can help you learn about their sensory problems, difficulty understanding unwritten social rules, or other inconveniences they have been putting up with.

Also, you can ask them about their unique interests and strengths.

Although most autistic people have limited interests, they tend to broadly learn and build their knowledge on things that interest them.

Likewise, they may have other strengths you are unaware of that may be helpful in other areas at work.

In addition, you can inquire about how they deal with stressful situations and how other colleagues can help them cope.

People with autism may become distressed or find certain situations most challenging in a work environment.

With this information, you can provide support and aid their work productivity.

Involve Them

Although autistic individuals have certain characteristics that set them apart from non-autistic people, you can treat them the same as other workers while being mindful of their means.

This means you must avoid segregating or leaving them out because of their disability.

An effective way to support your autistic employees is to involve them in work relations.

Contrary to popular belief that people with autism prefer solitude, some autistic persons do well in social situations.

You can't tell if you don't ask!

Invite your autistic coworker to social events, mandatory work gatherings, or other occasions with their colleagues.

Also, if your autistic employee turns down invitations, endeavor to understand them.

Most people with autism tend to avoid unpredictable environments as it causes them extreme anxiety.

Instead, try to meet them in an environment where they feel comfortable.

In addition, you can make a team-building exercise aligned with their unique interests.

The best way to bond with an autistic person is over shared interests.

Planning a team lunch that aligns with their special interests will make them feel valued and comfortable attending.

Conclusion

Today, many workplaces are embracing autistic and other neurotypical individuals.

In truth, working with an autistic person can provide an enriching experience for other colleagues and the workplace in general.

However, certain steps must be taken to ensure people with autism feel safe, valued, and supported in the workplace.

You can support your autistic employees by providing inclusive hiring practices, involving them, understanding their sensory differences, asking questions, and providing job clarifications.

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July 17th, 2024

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