One of the strong messages that certainly stood out at October’s Waffle ‘Life on the Spectrum’ was that it can be OK to have Autism in the workplace. Which sometimes will go against our natural social behaviour within a working environment, that maybe we do too much as employers and managers to try and ‘fix things’?
The message was clearly delivered by those attending the session who had Asperger’s was that if someone with Autism is doing the job then perhaps we do not have to ensure that they social integrate and maybe the reasonable adjustment is that they do not wish to. Although it is still important to realize that it won’t apply to everyone but it is worth consideration.
The autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as pervasive developmental disorder. Pervasive developmental disorders include autism, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett syndrome, although usually only the first three conditions are considered part of the autism spectrum.
When we discussed Autism at our Waffle event –we found that the general view on employers and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was that there was not enough education about the different kinds of conditions that are included in the spectrum.
Small changes in working conditions, such as allowing a lengthier run up to a change of routine, could boost the working relationship between colleagues. Also understanding that this condition can effect social skills, and that a buddying system which may work for one employee, may have adverse effects on the employee with ASD.
It was agreed that more education on ASD should be cascaded through organisations so that colleagues will learn to accept the behaviours of those with the condition and bridge the gap between them.
The next Waffle with Wave-length – Bottle the Habit , A look at Alcohol Addiction in employment, will be held on 19th November 2012 at Unit 4 Business Development Centre, Stafford Park, Telford, TF3 3BA
For information about ASD go to:
Ruth Mills’ Case Study on Aspergers
Talk About Autism http://www.talkaboutautism.org.uk/page/index.cfm
For more waffle events go to the Events page