Autism in the Workplace: 5 Steps HR Professionals Can Take

According to An Employer’s Guide to Managing Professionals on the Autism Spectrum, “young adults with autism experience the highest unemployment rate of any group of individuals with disabilities”.

While there may be an array of reasoning behind this, it becomes the responsibly of the employer to create an environment where HR, management, and staff are trained and educated on working with employees who are on the Autism Spectrum.

Author Maria Scheiner, states that employers can take these 5 steps when employees disclose to being on the Autism Spectrum:

1. Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what the individual’s particular challenges related to autism may or may not be. Every individual on the autism spectrum is different and will experience the impact differently in the workplace.

2. Learn why the employee is disclosing to you the fact that he or she has autism, and discuss if and how the individual wants to disclose the information to others.

3. Check your local laws regarding proof of disability, accommodation requirements and disclosure to others.

4. If you are unfamiliar with autism, learn about it.

5. Work with the employee to develop a plan for accommodations, if needed.

It’s the duty of HR professionals to provide equal opportunity and inclusion. Due to lack of knowledge there’s usually ignorance and judgment placed around people with disabilities. With proper education and training, HR can open doors to many opportunities for people on the Autism Spectrum.