In this article Ben Morris, an autistic adult, gives us his top 5 tips on employing an autistic person. Ben has also written an article on Network Autism about the steps he and his employer have taken to create a working environment which supports both him and the aims of the organisation.
Employing an autistic person
- Treat everyone as an individual. Treating people as individuals, with individual needs, is very important to get the best from an employee, for neurodiverse people and neurotypicals. If employing a person on the spectrum it is important to see the individual, not what you have read in a text book. We are all different - the label doesn’t define us.
- Encourage creativity. As everyone is different, it is important to work with autism, not against it; everyone has their own ‘style’ of working. However, make sure strong boundaries and achievable targets are discussed and set.
- Set clear boundaries, rules, routines, instructions and language. As an employer it is vital to set clear rules and boundaries for the individual to work with. Remain consistent in your behavior as changes in personality can increase anxiety.
- Get to know the individual. To do this, instigate good working practice and base support around communication. Find the best way to communicate with an individual e.g. face to face, Skype, phone, text, pictures etc. Have regular meetings and supervisions to ensure that the employee's needs are being met.
- Find a middle ground. The workplace cannot completely change for one individual. It is important to find a middle ground for a successful working environment for both employer and employee.
These top tips are meant as only a general guide to what to think about. You can find further information this subject below.
Date added: 22 September 2015