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 recognizes 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 recognize 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. 

Autism is a spectrum.

As autism affects everyone 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 is 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.

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

A red circle inscribed with "If you know one autistic person, you know exactly one autistic person!"

The strengths of autistic people are very individual, but often include: 

  • Distinctive logical and analytical abilities
  • Sustained concentration and perseverance even when tasks are repetitive
  • Conscientiousness, loyalty and sincerity
  • An exceptional eye for details, deviations and potential errors
  • Thorough target versus actual comparisons, and a genuine awareness for quality
  • A strong interest in factual matters and comprehensive technical expertise

Neurodiversity as a competitive advantage

Workplaces 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

Working with people who think differently has clear advantages when it comes to innovation and 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.

auticon Job Coaches

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

  • Prepare consultants for future workplaces and deliver information regarding specific corporate cultures associated with each assignment
  • Meet with future client team-members to explain autism and convey any specific accommodations their new autistic colleague may benefit from.
  • 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 maximize productivity at work.

The autism Advantage for Business

Our employees do not have to change in order to succeed – the environment must become more understanding, conscious and respectful.  Autism presents a unique advantage for business including:

  • First class quality work
  • Unparallel productivity
  • Incorruptible evaluation
  • Bulletproof documentation
  • Creative solutions for “unsolvable” tasks
  • Improved teamwork
  • Clear communication
  • Openness, diversity and honesty
  • Genuine inclusion