April 4, 2023

World Autism awareness 2023- How to support employees with Autism in the workplace.

This post was written by: Laaibah Bhatti

This week is world autism awareness. Autistic workers are more likely to face bullying and other forms of harassment / discrimination from managers as well as co-workers.

Staggering data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that only 22 percent of autistic people are in any type of paid employment and 47 per cent mask their autism and don’t even disclose that part of themselves to employees.

In this article we take a look at how you can support autistic workers.

What is autism?

Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behaviour. Autistic people experience the world differently and may have difficulty processing sensory information some of which include:

  • Struggling to communicate and interact with other people
  • Finding things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable.
  • Taking longer to understand information
  • Repetitive behaviours
  • Find it hard to understand how other people think or feel.

Supporting neurodiverse employees

One of the biggest problems for employers is that employees often do not feel comfortable disclosing their neurodiverse condition in the workplace, or they may be undiagnosed.

When employers fail to actively support neurodiverse workers, they could miss out on the benefits of thought diversity, increased employee productivity, and even struggle to hire the best talent.

Pay attention to sensory sensitivities

Many autistic individuals are sensitive to sensory input, such as bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells.

Employers can make the workplace more sensory-friendly by providing noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to block out background noise, installing dimmer switches to control the lighting in the workspace and consider using unscented cleaning products.

Provide accommodations

These are changes in the work environment that enable autistic employees to be effective in their job. These can include modifications to the physical workspace, changes to work schedules, and adjustments to communication methods. 

At Aston Bond we stand against any type of discrimination in the workplace and we understand everyone’s needs which more employers and schools need to be aware of. For more information, please contact imardarescu@astonbond.co.uk or 01753 486 777.