Rachel Worsley | 09/04/2023
Disclosing an autism diagnosis can be a difficult decision for autistic employees who are seeking workplace accommodations and may find disclosure of a diagnosis crucial to obtaining those work accommodations.
Now a UK study interviewing 24 autistic individuals has shed some light on the process, including practical tips for handling disclosure at work.
Here are what autistic jobseekers and employees should do to handle disclosure.
As for employers who wonder how to handle disclosures of autism diagnoses, here are what researchers recommend:
According to the researchers, there are three factors that influence the success of an autism diagnosis:
The study found disclosure outcomes were often mixed, with some people saying that disclosure led to problematic stereotyping. As one person commented: “people assuming I’m good at everything because I am good at one thing, and people assuming that I’m terrible at everything because I am terrible at one thing. In other words, the assumption of a flat autistic profile is hugely problematic.”
Another person commented that disclosure was a disadvantage in recruitment. “They had been very happy with my written tasks during the application process, but the feedback I got about the interview was that I didn’t fit in there, and they were concerned I’d need adjustments to the training process. Which are both thinly veiled code for “You’re too autistic”.
But others reported having improved mental health and wellbeing after disclosing their autism diagnosis: “I have become much more open about it because the response to disclosure has always been positive, so I feel able to mask a little less and live more authentically, which is good for the wellbeing.”
And others reported that the disclosure had a positive impact on their organisation. “I don’t regret disclosing in that organisation because I believe it did good even for the organisation. Now they have a proper procedure where, if someone needs a disability adjustment, it is dated, it is in black and white, it can be followed.”
Read the study here.
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