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Making Workplaces Autism-Friendly

Some people choose to hide their illnesses rather than have others see them. Why? Because the word "invisible" could imply that a disability doesn't exist or isn't real.

A non-visible disability is a health issue or disability that is not immediately apparent. It can defy preconceived notions of how impaired persons may appear to others. This might make it difficult for individuals with a non-visible disabilities to access the resources they require. Living with a non-visible handicap can have minimal or significant effects on a person's life.

The term "hidden" disability suggests that the impairment is being hidden on purpose. Disability is defined as "less-visible" if it is not readily apparent to the average person. A non-visible disability is real even though no one can see it.

An invisible handicap, known as a "dynamic disability," can affect some people. They could occasionally require mobility assistance. They may require a reserved seat in order to travel comfortably on crowded public transportation. Of course, there are times when they don't.

More than a billion people, or 15% of the global population, have some form of disability, according to the WHO World Report on Disability. We also know that people with disabilities are disproportionately hit by the health, social, and economic effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and as we head into the new year, there is an urgent sense that in a post-pandemic world, we have to strengthen our collective efforts to ensure worldwide accessibility to essential services, including health support, education, and employment, so that no one is left behind.

John Elder Robison – Author, ‘Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger’s’

“I don’t want to be a genius or a freak or something on display. I wish for empathy and compassion from those around me, and I appreciate sincerity, clarity, and logicality in other people. I believe most people—autistic or not—share this wish. And now, with my newfound insight, I’m on the way to achieving that goal. I hope you’ll keep those thoughts in mind the next time you meet someone who looks or acts a little strange.”

Autism in the workplace

The bright side is that advances in technology and methods have made the process more simpler. The best way to support a co-worker who is disabled is to be aware of the accommodations that can be made for them. A person diagnosed with autism, for example, may have genuine talent and contribute significant value to an organisation, but may also require assistance with information processing. There isn't a significant increase in needed resources here. The key is recognising this so that when team leaders are addressing workers or giving an appraisal, someone can help them break it down a little and help them manage their responses so that they feel involved. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people we've helped send in job applications stating they need help with communication, just to have the company or hiring manager go silent once they don't hear back. In the context of helping others find gainful employment, we have first-hand knowledge of the application process for various positions.

As a result, it is important for employers to be familiar with the safeguards afforded to people with disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 and the Equality Act of 2010. Thanks to this new law, the situation is vastly better.

Autistic persons have a unique way of seeing the world around them through their senses of sight, sound, and touch. Because autism is not a disease or condition, those who are diagnosed with it remain autistic throughout their lives. Having autism is often seen as essential to one's sense of self.

Autism can affect people in a wide variety of ways. Though all autistic people have similar challenges, autism manifests itself uniquely in each individual. Many persons with autism also struggle with mental health concerns, learning disabilities, or other disorders, therefore their assistance needs will vary. Everyone can be assisted in leading a happier, more independent life if given the proper resources.

It is possible to create a more autism-friendly work environment through a variety of measures that can be taken by an employer. The benefits to everyone in the workplace are greater in an environment that values and accommodates neurodiversity. It will also help autistic employees who aren't sure if they have autism, haven't been formally diagnosed, or are too timid to advocate for themselves.

The following are some ideas for making the workplace more accessible to people with autism:

· Regulation and conduct that make sense

· Workplace relaxation area: For instance, a quiet room can help alleviate office distractions and information overload. For instance, you could increase the amount of natural light, make adjustments to the temperature and lighting, or lessen the intensity of unpleasant odours.

· All employees have access to information on autism and available support services

· All instructions and policies to be written and communicated clearly and accurately tools to assist personal work organisation, such as visual timetables, organiser apps that only objective criteria are used for assessment/promotion that work schedules are adhered to integration of autism in harassment and bullying policies, to minimise harassment and bullying of autistic employees.

When do things get better?

Those who are diagnosed with autism do not recover from it; it is not a medical disorder. Many people believe that having autism is crucial to one's sense of identity. There is a vast range of possible autism symptoms. With the right support, everyone can live a fuller, more satisfying life on their own terms. Both you and your employer can take steps toward making the workplace more welcoming to people with autism. Any environment you live and work has nothing on you to change but yourself. Will you change your thinking or take action to improve the workplace?


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