People on the spectrum have the most amazing and valuable skills.
It’s true! And achieving a healthier and more comfortable work environment is important for the personal growth of both employers and people on the spectrum looking for work.
This can be achieved in many ways, be it by disclosing your disability, interpreting office rules, making friends, or decision making.
And sometimes, just like anyone else, we need a little push. So here is a helpful list of our 4 healthy workplace tips for autistic people and their employers:
1. (Employers) Social skills don’t necessarily minimize other valuable skills in other areas.
There is a mistaken sense that if people lack some “social skills” then this will affect all other areas of skills.
Trying to see past this is important for all of us as a society. Since the lack of “neurotypical” social skills or any sort of “awkwardness” (that may sometimes be due to other mental disorders) don’t have to necessarily mean a lack of skills in other areas.
People on the spectrum, in particular, are talented and reliable individuals. And if encouraged in their place of work, they will do a great job!
2. Think about disclosing your diagnosis to your colleagues.
It’s often complicated to think about the pros and cons of disclosing your diagnosis at work or before an interview. Because you might experience the fear of not knowing what the outcome will be.
Here’s a little help for you to make this decision.
If you decide to disclose:
Remember that employers are legally obliged to support you under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination in the workplace. As well as any adjustments that need to be made to accommodate you.
If you need a little more help try to make a list of pros and cons, ask a friend, a loved one or a counselor for help and advice on how to move forward. There are potential solutions to many of the issues with the right adjustments.
As to employers: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your autistic employee.
3. Have a friend or mentor to talk to about work.
Asking questions to the right person is a great way to keep growing and learning. Having a mentor, loved one or friend on your side will make you feel supported. You’ll be able to open up about issues at work.
Talk to this person to find out about certain “unspoken workplace rules” you might not be noticing or ask questions whenever you feel confused about certain indications you were given.
Employers: Try speaking to your HR team to find a friend or mentor that will help your autistic employee find their place and work in a healthy environment.
4. Keep on the lookout for signs of Workplace Bullying.
There are several ways to recognize if you are being a victim of bullying or harassment in your place of work. Be sure to speak to your employer, caretaker or counselor in the case that you do notice this type of behavior.
Remember that employers are responsible for recognizing these behaviors and taking the measures necessary to ensure your safety.
Direct bullying may look like this:
Insults directly aimed at you
Unwelcome sexual approaches. Such as touching you or invading your personal space.
Indirect bullying looks like this:
Leaving you out of group activities
Singling you out
Bullying or harassment can not just be done to you face to face, it can be done via emails, in documents, or over the phone.
If you are a victim of any type of harassment, make sure you express this to your employer, loved ones or counselors for support.
Let’s all Work Together for Healthier Workplace Practices!
Even if getting to know your workplace rules might be challenging at first, it will be a chance for you to grow into an independent person.
Also, be on the lookout! There are several companies offering programs that have the goal of hiring employees on the spectrum. Opportunities are yours to take! Read our post on Companies Hiring Autist Employees for more information.