Support individuals with autism

Supporting people with Autism

Six ways to support individuals with autism

Do you manage or work with a person who is on the autistic spectrum? Not sure how to get the best out of them? Are you struggling to build a rapport with them?

To help you understand how to support individuals with autism, we have outlined the top 6 ways you can change your culture for the better:

  • 1) Structure can be vital:

    If your work colleague with autism often interrupts during meetings, the answer may be to add more structure to the meetings. Employees with autism (or any person with autism for that matter) usually values structure. You could also consider creating a compact guide for the business that clearly states the expected format for meetings.

  • 2) Question whether an interaction needs to be in person:

  • Does your team member have difficulty responding and communicating face-to-face? If so, you could ask yourself if the same information could be shared via email instead, or as well as (clear bullet points are always good). The essential rule here is to focus on a person’s strengths; this includes communication styles.

  • 3) Processes that work for everyone:

  • How do you create processes that work for a diverse cognitive team? Rather than creating different systems for each individual (which is not cheap or easy), create a process that works for all. This way of working will give your company an advantage when hiring the best staff and keeping your retention level high.

  • 4) Respect what they have to say:

  • Autism can heavily affect a person’s capability to follow the unspoken laws of social etiquette, particularly in a professional setting. Your fellow employee may be utterly indifferent to listening about your new shoes, but enthusiastic about the classic 1895 Bomberman on Nintendo’s NES console. Remember that they may not be able to help it. Always try to be understanding and adaptable.

  • 5) Make the most of project management software:

  • Autism, while it can demonstrate hyper-focus in certain areas, it can prevent general focus and at times lead to lack of organisation, creating problems. We recommend using online systems like Slack or to keep track of projects (it can also send timed reminders).

  • 6) Treat autism as a normal part of life (because it is):

  • Think of autism as any other personal attribute you are born with, like blue eyes. Autism is something that you do not choose. You should never put someone down or ‘call them out’ because of characteristic they are born with.

Have an autistic colleague? Give us a call and we can provide further advice.

Think you may have Autism? You can take our Autism test to see if you show any traits.

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