Strategies In Training Autistic Employees

Researchers estimate around 50,000 young people with autism turns 18 every year. Is your organization read to train these new employees?

What is Autistic Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological disorder that includes a wide range (spectrum) of skills, symptoms and levels of support. Although no two people are alike, characteristics may include ongoing challenges with social skills that include difficulty and interacting with others. For those on the higher end of the spectrum, characteristics may include:

  • ·         A normal to high intelligence and good verbal skills
  • ·         Trouble understanding what someone else is thinking or feeling
  • ·         Difficulty understanding non-verbal cues
  • ·         May suffer from anxiety or depression
  • ·         Strong long-term memory
  • ·         May have executive functioning difficulties 
  • ·         Being highly creative
  • ·         A high sense of justice and fairness

It is important to note that autistic employees vary in the workplace. Younger employees may have received a diagnose very early their childhood while those in their 30’s to 50’s were more than likely diagnosed as adults. Many in fact may not realize they are autistic due to lack of information during their formative years. This rings true especially for women who did not fit the typical stereotype of autism.

Challenges Training Autistic Employees

The use of idioms, sarcasm, irony, metaphors and figure of speech may be difficult since most are literal thinkers.

Due to sensory sensitivities, harsh lighting and certain smells may be intolerable.

May feel anxiety working with groups during an activity, which includes role-playing and case studies.

Discomfort with noise

Coping with the unpredictable

Strategies In Training Autistic Employees
  • ·         Structured breaks- give notice in advance
  • ·         Give visual instructions. Verbal instructions are difficult to remember
  • ·         Do not assume that the employee is not listening or paying attention
  • ·         When explaining, use explicit and concrete language
Accommodations

A diagnosis of autism also qualifies under the American Disability Act (ADA).  While some may not want to disclose their diagnosis, It’s always a good idea to make sure each person is comfortable in the training. The following are some suggestions:

  • ·         Provide advance notice of topics to be discussed if possible
  • ·         Allow employees to use items to hold such as hand-help squeeze balls 
  • ·         Allow use of a noise-cancellation headset
Tips to Remember

Some autistic employees have a history of being bullied, which for many have carried over into the workplace.  Set rules in the beginning of the training that all participants should be respected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August Special Needs Article Links

Welcome to the August article links. These are articles that I tweeted and or received from viewers during the month of August on special needs and developmental disability topics.

9 best toys for toddlers with autism (The Mom Kind)

10 best sports for kids with sensory processing disorders (Health Basics)

ADHD and Dyslexia (News Medical Life Science)

ADHD symptoms in children vs. adults (Medical Daily)

Autism and difficulty in gauging time (Autism Speaks)

Forget stereotypes… How to recruit talented, neurodiverse employees (The Guardian)

Getting your child on the spectrum ready for the school year (Livanis Behavioral Consulting)

How embracing my ADHD makes me a better entrepreneur (Entrepreneur)

How one Texas parent is trying to solve a growing problem in the adult autistic community (Dallas News)

How my husband and son are teaching strangers about autism (Autism Speaks)

Preparing an autism friendly primary classroom (ASC)

Program teaches people with autism how to swim (Autism Speaks)

Recognizing the signs of learning disabilities (Komo News)

Ten things I’ve learned in my ten years as an autism mom (Autism Speaks)

Top ways a gluten free diet can help kids with autism (Autism Parenting Magazine)

Ultimate guide to weighted blankets for kids and adults (Growing Hands on Kids)

Using public transportation when you have autism (I News)

 

May Special Needs Articles

Welcome to the May article links. These are articles that I tweeted and or received from viewers during the month of May on special needs and developmental disability topics. Enjoy!

5 things I learned from being an autism dad (Fatherly)

7 toilet training tips that help nonverbal kids with autism (Autism Speaks)

8 ingenious innovations helping autistic children communicate (Mashable)

9 important things autism moms want people to know (Autism Magazine)

10 steps to include students with autism in general education classrooms (Think Inclusive)

After an autism diagnosis: 13 necessary next steps for parents (Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism)

An overlooked resource- people with disabilities (Think Inclusive)

Author tells own story of life with cerebral palsy (Madison Magazine)

Autism: The hidden talent that shows up in the workplace (Business Standard)

Gaming may help kids with ADHD (The Newspaper)

How to help children with autism make, and keep friends (Chicago Tribune)

Kids treated for ADHD can still struggle in school, especially girls (Reuters)

The joys and challenges of being a parent with autism (The Atlantic)

Using visual schedules to get a child with autism organized in 45 minutes (Autismag)

What sensory processing disorder says about autism (Spectrum)