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How Employers Can Make Autistic Lives Easier

July 25, 2020

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Yeah. I know this is rich coming from someone who has never had a job. Think about it like this. If an employer were to message me on, let’s say Twitter asking for feedback on how they can make the workplace easier for us, what should they do.?

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.

Learn about the biggest hurdle that keeps us out of the workplace, interviews

Here’s how employers can make autistic lives easier in the workplace.

Understanding Autistic traits

Simply understanding autism traits. When I was in school, the teacher’s misunderstanding of my autism traits caused me trouble. For instance, some autistic are sensitive to loud noises. In the 4th grade, I had a sensitivity to the fire alarm. However, the teachers read it as not caring about fire drills. The lack of eye contact can be easily misread as being rude when not looking directly at you helps them focus more. Learn about autism traits to avoid unneeded misunderstandings.

Provided a space heater/fan

Provided a heater/fan for the person’s cubical so they can adjust their setting. Extreme heat/cold can be rough for people with sensory issues. I have been shamed my entire life for my heat sensitivity, especially when I was in the marching band. Band camp was in early August. The NT kids don’t have sensitivities like me but couldn’t respect that. What was a small meltdown from the extreme heat is seen as ‘complaining’ to outsiders, which causes them to shame me. The environment is important. If I had accommodations, such as the director lending me a battery-powered fan or a hat that can block out the sun or giving me a list of breathable clothes that would help me, my time would have been easier.

Allow Working From Home

Allow them to work from home. Ex e-mailing them the tasks for the day and they can do it from home. Some of us prefer working from home. Where we can go at our own pace. Obviously, if it’s possible to work from home.

Proper training

You can’t poorly train us then blame us/and or fire us for too many mistakes. Make sure we understand the job 100%. Some people learn slower than others and that is OK. Have Patience. Don’t be a jerk when they need to ask for transparency.

I found a Twitter thread that can be used as a guild.

Clear Instructions

Give clear understandable directions. Vague unclear directions do not help. Don’t automatically expect them to know the rules and what is expected. Communicate what you want from the person. If you need someone to go in the closet to find a box then say “go to the back closet and bring a blue box.”

A predictable schedule

Have a predictable schedule. Everyone is different but a schedule all over the place can be overwhelming. Especially unexpectedly calling them in on off days. We need the off-days to recharge. Autism burnout.

Learning about burnout can be helpful.

Another Twitter post with feedback from autistics.

Closing Thoughts

Have someone autistic on the HR staff.

Have regulations that protect autistics from bullying and discrimination.

Avoid lumping them in NT(Neurotypical) settings (like florescent lighting)

Everyone on the spectrum is different so understand how each person operates.

On the application, if they will be hopped around the store or whatever, state that. If they apply for a certain job, they will assume that said job will be their duty. Not random extra tasks etc.

Get feedback from the person themselves on what will make it easier for them.

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