Autism influences a person’s perception, cognition, and emotions.

The World Health Organization summarises the different autism spectrum diagnoses under the term ‘neurodevelopmental disorders’. However, the term disorder is increasingly replaced by the notion of neurodiversity. This approach recognises that autism is a characteristic comparable to ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Whether an autistic person experiences their condition as a disability or not depends on the individual. Some self-advocacy and autistic pride movements do not see autistic people as disabled – they see the environment as the limiting factor. To others, autism itself can be very disabling. Either way, it is important to recognise that all autistic people are entitled to reasonable adjustments.

An autism spectrum diagnosis includes the following criteria:

  • (Qualitative) differences in social interaction
  • (Qualitative) differences in communication
  • Limited, repetitive, or stereotyped behaviours, interests, or activities

Are you on the autism spectrum?

The ‘Autism Spectrum Quotient’ was developed by the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge. It gives a useful first insight into whether someone may qualify for a formal diagnosis, but please bear in mind that the test itself is by no means diagnostic. Take the test here.

Please visit the ARC website for further information.

The autism spectrum

As autism affects each individual differently, we refer to an autism spectrum. Just like everybody else, autistic people have unique personalities. The spectrum is three-dimensional and the diversity within the autism spectrum is infinite. That explains why auticon takes a person-centric approach: we want to create workplaces that work for people as individuals, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all formula.

The autism spectrum includes several different diagnoses, such as Asperger syndrome, high functioning autism, atypical autism, or PDD-NOS. It is important to recognise that diagnoses are not always clear-cut and mainly serve as an assessment framework.

Many autistic people have above-average cognitive skills, which can enable them to compensate for, or ‘camouflage’, any social or communication difficulties. Consequently, autism can be referred to as a hidden condition and is often only diagnosed later in life.

Some cognitive strengths tend to be more prevalent in the autism community:

  • distinctive logical and analytical abilities
  • sustained concentration and perseverance even when tasks are repetitive
  • conscientiousness, loyalty, and sincerity
  • an exceptional eye for detail and potential errors
  • thorough target versus actual comparisons, and a genuine awareness for quality
  • a strong interest in factual matters and comprehensive technical expertise

Typical workplaces, however, can often produce barriers for autistic people, resulting in unduly high unemployment rates. Some of these workplace challenges include:

  • the sensory environment
  • vague or ambiguous communication
  • small talk, and “connecting” with colleagues and/or the wider team

auticon employs qualified job coaches in order to create work environments that work well for both our consultants and our clients.

auticon job coaches

  • prepare consultants for future workplaces and deliver briefings regarding specific corporate cultures associated with each assignment
  • meet with future client team-members to explain autism and convey any specific requests their new autistic colleague may have
  • offer initial support to consultants with their travelling to and from work
  • facilitate reasonable workplace adjustments
  • mediate feedback between client and consultant
  • offer the individual support that consultants may need in order to be productive at work

Neurodiversity as a competitive advantage

Working with people who think differently has obvious advantages when it comes to innovation, and when it comes to finding solutions to complex tasks and issues. Neurodiversity in teams (i.e. the collaborative effect of working with different cognitive styles) can also have an astonishing effect on a work culture: communication becomes clearer and more efficient, team spirit gains new momentum and employees feel valued for their unique and individual selves.

What do our clients get out of it?

Direct value:

  • Exceptional cognitive skills
  • Fast work pace
  • Unbiased evaluations
  • Innovative solutions for unsolvable problems

Added value:

  • Improved team work
  • Improved communication
  • Openness and honesty
  • Genuine inclusion and diversity