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Top 5 autism tips for professionals: supporting an autistic person in employment

Leena Haque, BBC Neurodiversity Lead, and Sean Gilroy, BBC North Finance Business Partner, give us their top 5 tips on supporting an autistic person in employment.

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Authors: Leena Haque, Sean Gilroy 

Top 5 tips

Supporting an autistic person in employment

1. Give clarity and accept that there are other methods of communication styles. Be clear, direct and concise with information and instructions. If verbal instructions don’t seem to be working, try using visuals and written forms of communication.

2. It's not just about accommodating a person's disabilities; it’s also to make use of a person's abilities. Don't underestimate an individual's ability but at the same time also be patient and supportive when an employee faces challenges. Learn to tap into their strengths.

3. Change and transition can be very challenging for someone with autism, be patient and support them through. Providing structure, fixed points and routines also helps. Make sure you spend individual time connecting with the person. Regular and consistent feedback, and optional 1-2-1’s each week helps to build this structure.  Provide a specific time when you can both meet and discuss anything that might be causing issues or anxieties.

4. Earn his/her trust and be proactive not reactive. If you know something might upset the individual—like a change at work—talk to them before it becomes a problem. In other words, don’t wait for a crisis; instead, instead take steps to avoid a crisis. Also be an advocate for them. A good manager, like a real life superhero, will watch out for you and protect you from difficult situations and people. This is where the trust comes in.

5. Research and learn about autism, whether online, training workshops or talking to other professionals, but don’t forget that we are individuals. No two people on the autism spectrum are the same. Each person has their own quirks and is unique. Get to know the individual; what motivates them, what could cause anxiety, confusion or frustration, and what you can do to support them and help them succeed.

These top tips are meant only as a very general guide to what to think about. You can find further information on this subject below.

Further reading

Date added: 12 January 2016