World Autism Acceptance Week is from 27 March to 2 April. And this year’s theme is colour. We would like to recognise this week, but we acknowledge that not everyone with autism would like to do so.
It can be a difficult week for some autistic people as general stereotypes re-emerge. As a society we must remember that every single person is unique and we all have differences. This popular quote from Dr Stephen Shore highlights how diverse autism is.
Dr Stephen Shore
When you meet one person with autism, you have met one person with autism
There will be people with autism in many workplaces who are using their unique look on the world to influence strategy, design, performance, sales and productivity. This should be recognised, prioritised and supported.
What can employers do to support their autistic employees?
A workplace that recognises autism, is a workplace that is better for all workers. It also benefits those who may not have a formal diagnosis or lack the confidence to ask for adjustments. Choosing to make these small adjustments will make a huge difference to someone with autism. Enabling them to be more effective, secure and happy in their job.
An individual does not need a diagnosis to get a reasonable adjustment. Having reasonable adjustments in place will make a massive difference to someone’s everyday life at work, wellbeing and ultimately improve their productivity.
The Centre for ADHD & Autism Support, 2023
Examples of reasonable adjustments are:
- noise cancelling headphones
- additional breaks
- dim lights
- flexible working
- clear communication e.g., when sending emails, use bullet points with clear actions and timeframes
- individual desk
- as much notice as possible of any changes e.g., for meetings, change of staff or roles, seating plans, building work
If reasonable adjustments are not made, employers can risk losing the talent that these individuals bring to their organisation. This can also impact on the employee’s well-being, resulting in low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and trust issues around the workplace.
It’s important to listen to your employees and create a culture of trust, inclusion and acceptance without judgement. This makes it easier for employees to feel safe to disclose their needs. They can then do their job to the best of their abilities and feel a valued part of the team.
If you like to learn more about the Into Work Service, please contact the team.
Telephone: 02392 794 365
Written by The Into Work Team, Portsmouth