Tuesday, 19 October 2010

"Don't Write Them Off" - another excellent article

Another good one in the Guardian, from just over a year ago, titled "Don't Write Them Off", once again starts with how only 15% of adults with Aspergers and other autism spectrum conditions are in full-time paid work with the National Autistic Society publishing a survey to tie into launching a campaign titled "Don't Write Me Off".

At the end of the main article are some excellent bullet points about how employers could give autistic people access to work. I don't quote too much for copyright reasons, but particularly identified with:
- Think about your recruitment policy, standard job ads and selection processes are unlikely to encourage someone with autism to apply for posts they may be qualified for, says Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS. "Look at the emphasis you're placing on communication skills, does the role really need those skills?" My findings are that the roles often do in a small part, ie contact with customers and suppliers, though I'd be able to do all other tasks.
- Don't force employees with an ASD to take part in unnecessary team-working processes which add nothing to how well something gets done," says Dr James Richards of Heriot-Watt University. "And don't force such employees into social gatherings or events without full consent." Definitely identify with this one too, with the posts I've made about role-play exercises at training days in my work in the public sector and more recently on Flexible Routeways. The social gatherings are a good point too, I posted about office parties a while back.

The second comment agreed quoting on those same points - I don't know why companies are always listing teamwork when you're going to be working alone, or insisting on open office plans where there's a lot of chatter, and encouraging "team-building" exercises. These things are just annoying to people with certain personalities; what companies really need to understand is that people are not 'one size fits all,' but it is that very diversity which can help the company. Too true!

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