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Autism And Workplace Discrimination

May 26, 2020

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It is common for adults on the autism spectrum to face workplace bullying, discrimination. In most cases, some of us end up leaving or losing a job due to the condition. Some of us get poor adjustments made and in fact don’t help much.  I will start linking blog posts that give me the ideas in my blog posts etc. Go the extra mile to make sure no one takes me out of context because it happens so often. I think the lack of understanding regarding autism can be the cause of this. Employers may not know they are discriminating against someone with autism in some cases.

Autistics may not disclose out of fear of the repercussions

Now if you disclose your autism and you are fired, have your hours/days cut it can be pretty clear. Sometimes we may reveal our autism when applying and get rejected. Or at an interview and we didn’t get the job. Sometimes the co-workers not understanding can be the cause.

They don’t know you’re autistic, but they do know something is ‘off’ about you which can invite them to treat you differently.

Autistics struggle with employment for various reasons

This is a common one, most of us can’t hold down a job for not working fast enough. Jobs expect us to perform in a way that we can’t and it’s ableist. It only benefits people without neurological differences.

There are a lot of ableist things that keep us out of jobs. The environment of the job. I feel like I am being baked at 350 degrees when I am under fluorescent lighting.

Or the temperature. Or the setting (like if your spot is near crowds). If a job only favors people without disabilities and keeps disabled people away ( strict attendance rules) it is in fact, ableist.

I think employers may get the impression that the person needs a ton of adjustments and maybe less liking to hire them. Even though the ADA (Americans W/ Disabilities Act) states employers much provide reasonable accommodations.

Clarify what is expected of the job-  Provide more details as to what the person will be expected to do on the job. Also, make sure on the job description you are clear as to what is expected from the employee. 

Make sure your instructions are concise and specific

 Make sure you are more clear with your instructions. provide more details. Don’t assume the person can read between the lines. Instead of saying ‘it’s your turn to bring doughnuts,’ specify what place you want the person to buy the dessert how many doughnuts to get, etc. We are forgetful because our brains are like your son/daughter’s messy room, be sure to send them a call/text to remind them and make sure they respond to you.  Being clear is just that.

Provide sensitive but direct feedback

  Most autistic people don’t pick up on social cues (facial expressions, body language, emotions, etc) Example: I can make a nonverbal gesture saying ‘no’ and the autistic person will look at you like they have no clue what you’re doing.  If they completed a task incorrectly, don’t go off on them. Make sure your feedback is positive but constructive. Tell them where they went wrong and what to keep in mind. On YT, when someone says the audio is this, the audio is that. It means nothing because they are not telling me how to fix the problem. For example ‘the audio is a bit low, your voice to be clear. Make sure in your editing you have the higher sample rates selected. Even if you originally recorded in good settings, if the sample rate is not at the correct setting, it will downgrade your quality.’

Be reassuring, not condescending in stressful situations

–  we tend to get overwhelmed and stressed in certain instances. Provide some info on what to do if something goes wrong. For example: if the printer breaks here is the extension to call Joe, the repair guy. It would help if the person had a buddy to take over if the person gets overloaded and needs to cool off.  Make the workplace a safe space for autistic people. Be understanding. Provide accommodations.

Closing Thoughts

Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they are any less or they will be a poor employee. Maybe if you stop making up fantasies in your head and actually put in the effort to make reasonable adjustments you will be amazed and what someone can do.

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1 Comment

  • Reply How Employers Can Make Autistic Lives Easier - Gaming With Jazz March 25, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    […] We wouldn’t struggle so much on jobs if you knew these things. What are the things keeping me out of the workplace? What could the person add to motivate me into the workplace? First, learn about workplace discrimination. […]

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