Rachel Worsley | 10/04/2023
Employers must take a more proactive role in identifying, suggesting and implementing adjustments for their autistic employees as opposed to placing the burden solely on the employee, a UK study has found.
“Organisations should move away from disclosure as a necessity and provide employees with the information, resources and tools they need to make informed decisions about adjustments, based on their individual needs as opposed to their diagnosis,” the researchers wrote in the journal PLOS One.
Here’s how employers can help autistic people with workplace adjustments:
The study researchers interviewed 181 autistic adults’ experiences and views of receiving workplace adjustments in the UK.
The study found while more than 80% of participants valued workplace adjustments, less than 60% reported requesting them. More than one-third of those who had requested adjustments did not have them successfully implemented.
In one example, one autistic adult said: “[I was] given an allocated desk space but I had to fight for it back after it was taken away without warning.”
Another said: “I asked if I could reduce my hours, work less people-facing and more admin-focused but was refused and ultimately fired for not being able to fulfil the role.”
Many autistic adults struggled to identify the workplace adjustments they required, feeling the onus was on them to describe what adjustments they required.
“I haven’t made many requests, because I didn’t know I had a clinical reason for feeling uncomfortable,” said one autistic adult.
“I find it difficult to pinpoint what adjustments and support I might need, and feel further guidance regarding this and what is available to help would be very helpful.”
Read the study here.
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