7 things the autistic person needs in the workplace

A wheel diagram shaded with the seven colours of the rainbow Ashlea McKay wrote an interesting article on Linked In, 7 things the autistic person in your workplace needs from you“. Ashlea was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) aged 29, but she prefers to refer to herself as an autistic person – “I am autistic” she says, and she explains why. She discusses the difficulties of being stereotyped and how small adjustments in the workplace can increase her productivity so that everyone can benefit from having someone with a brain that thinks differently to most others.

As no two people who are autistic or diagnosed with ASD are alike, the key is to ask the person what they need to function well in the workplace. Acceptance and appreciation of their sometimes amazing thinking processes is probably the first step. The diagram relates to how Ashlea thinks autism looks – not a spectrum indicating a linear continuum – but a circular spectrum where all aspects are linked. The key points are: 

    • No two people are alike
    • Ditch the stereotypes
    • Ask how we would like to be referred to
    • Be open to having a conversation to discuss what works
    • Be flexible to customise our working environment
    • Help us maximise our strengths
    • Provide us with opportunities to progress