The pros and cons of disclosing your diagnosis to your employer

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The Girl with Curly Hair Project has posted a video on the pros and cons of disclosing a diagnosis of autism to your employer - you can view it here 

We are going to be working on some top tips for employers and employees with the NAS employment team shortly so would love to hear your views on above video, what you feel the pros and cons are for disclosing a diagnosis and what adivce you might give to employees and employers on getting the right support in employment.   


Edited on February 23, 2017 - 9:07am

April 26, 2016 - 5:01pm

Most application forms have a section concerning disabilities.  This section usually starts with the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act definition of 'disability' before asking the question (or similar) 'Do you consider yourself to be a Disabled Person?'.

This section always causes me some inward debate.  According to the DDA, 'Yes' - I am a 'Disabled Person'.  Do I consider myself to be 'disabled'? - Certainly not!

When applying for my current position, I answered something along the lines of:

'In May 2011 I was diagnosed as having 'Asperger's Syndrome'.  I do not consider myself to have a disability.'

 - This certainly led to some good discussion during interview.  The panel agreed with me that I am not 'disabled'; & my (now) boss commented that, far from being a problem, my particular way of thinking made me more attractive to an employer.

April 27, 2016 - 10:32am

Thanks for sharing your experience and views on disclosing, I'm sure others will share your perspective. It is always a very personal decision and I'm pleased to hear that you have found a good employer who shares your perspective on Asperger syndrome and saw it as adding value and benefit to your application and role.

We have completed the top tips videos as mentioned in my original post and are in the process of editing them now, these should be going up on the site in the coming few weeks. I hope you find them interesting and helpful. 

May 18, 2016 - 5:18pm

I am a job recruiter and Community Manager with ULTRA Testing in the USA. I do outreach to individuals on the autism spectrum, interview, and hire for jobs as remote software testers. I am autistic, so is my middle son, and my partner (Asperger's). I am also the author of an upcoming book that respected authors and advocates are kindly reviewing. I hold a Masters in Education and was a school teacher. I would be happy to connect and offer out my viewpoints, experience.

Twitter: aspergersgirls 

Diederik Weve

September 18, 2016 - 8:26pm

Never disclose if you can't immediately explain what that means in your particular case. Be specific, give examples when and when not impairments may be noticeable. The reason is that people will be unconsciously influenced by their biases including the stereotypes that go with it. This is compounded by the discomfort experienced by most people to explore, ask follow-up questions, getting to the detailed understanding that is needed in case of invisible impairments in general and so essential to cover the spectrum.

By immmediately providing the information what is required (and NOT) in your case, you address the concerns, reduce the chance of wrong stereotypes getting in the way and you build the experience that discussing needs is not awkward. 

Always disclose if you feel that your behaviour and skills may be interpreted wrongly.   

Nathalie Dick

February 21, 2017 - 4:04pm

See also our filmed interview with Catherine Leggett, Employment Training Consultant with the National Autistic Society, in which she gives her top 5 autism tips for autistic people on disclosing their diagnosis to employers.