Help For Employers
The National Autistic Society reports that there are an estimated 332,600 people of working age in the UK with an autism spectrum condition but that only 6% are in full-time paid employment, and only 12% of those with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome have full-time jobs. This is despite many people with autism having a variety of skills that should enable them to thrive in a variety of roles. They are often disadvantaged when it comes to finding and maintaining a job because of the difficulties that they have with coping with certain aspects of the environment and in in interacting with other people. Employers often lack awareness of ASC and experience in how to assess and manage individuals with ASC.
People with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) frequently make excellent employees.
As well as their individual abilities, there are some common characteristics associated with ASC which can be particularly beneficial in the workplace. For example people with ASC are good at paying attention to detail and can excel in situations where precision, accuracy, consistency and adherence to procedure are important. Individuals may have particular skills, interests and experience in which they show particular strengths.
Due to the unique and individual ways in which people with ASC tend to respond to, process and manage new information about their environment it can be beneficial to complete an assessment with the individual to decide on the most appropriate way to support them in enhancing their skills and putting those skills into practice at work. With just the right amount of support people with ASC frequently make excellent employees and can become highly valued members of staff.
In which areas are people with ASC likely to require support?
Although this will vary between individuals with ASC, in general they will tend to have difficulties in three main areas.
- Social interaction: difficulty with establishing relationships, difficulty with reciprocating socially or emotionally or appearing indifferent.
- Social communication: difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, including facial expressions and tone of voice.
- Social imagination: difficulty with flexibility of thought, affecting sequencing, organising, planning ahead and thinking in abstract ways.
- In addition, many people with autism have sensory over- or under- sensitivity, for example to light, sounds and touch. However, with the right support and some reasonable adjustments to the working environment, people with autism can thrive and some may excel in particular tasks.
- Some may also have difficulties coping with anxiety and find it hard to cope with change or to deal with unexpected events’
Autism awareness training for staff and employers to enable them to better understand the autistic spectrum condition, including particular strengths and challenges this may bring to the workplace.
Other training and consultancy to enable employers to:
- develop autism friendly environments;
- Identify the most appropriate reasonable adjustments for people who are registered disabled as a result of their ASC;
- Explore ways in which they can incorporate inclusion for people with ASC into their corporate social responsibility policy
- Working directly with the employee and their employer or manager, we are able to offer consultancy services or more detailed assessment and advice for individuals. This may include interviews and observations in the workplace as well as specific psychological assessments, which may be beneficial in understanding individual requirements.
How We Can Help Now
Information about autistic spectrum conditions is constantly evolving. At PFA we aim to keep in touch with new developments through local and national networks and through our links with autism researchers and people whose lives are affected by autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. This helps us to design and deliver a range of bespoke services, which are current, relevant and drawn from best practice. For more information about any of our services click below: