Most employers that we talk to are interested in employing the strengths of people on the autism spectrum like attention to detail, loyalty and focus. However, they have concerns about how to access those strengths. Many times they simply don't know enough about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to feel comfortable in including them in their workplace. Without knowing what to expect, it's difficult to take that step.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about what to expect when employing a person on the autism spectrum:
- ANY new person in your workforce is unique. If you are thoughtful about how you onboard any new person, then you are going to be thoughtful about how you'll onboard a new person with autism. However, people on the spectrum will transition in their own unique way. Considering them as unique rather than "needing help" will make on-boarding easier.
- People on the spectrum need specific directions on new tasks. While they can be unbelievably productive, you shouldn't expect them to "find" your undone tasks or to connect the dots in less-than-explicit instructions.
- Many individuals on the spectrum are perfectionists by nature. If you aren't getting excellent work, clearly correct the mistakes you’re seeing. Clarity and respect are key. Assume that the person would prefer to do excellent work and that the issue you are seeing would be corrected given the opportunity.
- People on the spectrum don't easily pickup on social cues and workplace politics. If there is something that a person on the autism spectrum is doing that isn't socially appropriate or is causing workplace strife, let them know, and let them know how to correct it.
Of course, it's VERY important to know that people on the spectrum are people. Just like anyone else, they have their own unique skills, abilities and personality traits. And, they will respond to your workplace in their own unique way.
If you are interested in including someone with ASD in your business, but want some help. You can always contact Mind Shift