Employers don’t see my ability. They see my autism. They see a problem. That makes them quick to judge me, to dismiss me. Simply because they don’t understand me.

But by working with colleagues, employers and the Government, we can make sure more autistic people get the jobs we deserve.

Arran

Dinesh

Arran

Arran (60) wants to help more employers understand the benefits that autistic people can bring to the workplace.

"I'm autistic and have a successful job as a senior consultant at Interserve, one of the world's foremost support and construction companies. I feel appreciated in my role and get on well with my colleagues. 

People started to realise that my different way of seeing things was a huge asset.

"But it wasn't always like this in my career. I have held a range of different jobs and struggled in a number of them. Looking back, I can think of so many times I've faced significant problems because my autism wasn't understood. For example, I have had four redundancies, I have been asked or encouraged to leave employment and on two occasions I have even had to change my career. 

Aaron Linton Smith

"A turning point came four years ago, when I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 56. It took a while for me to accept the diagnosis but when I did, all the problems I'd had in the workplace started making sense.

"Even though I was advised not to by my family, I took the difficult decision to disclose my autism to a colleague whose son was autistic. He was surprised, but encouraged me to tell the rest of my team. To my surprise everyone was so understanding and people started to realise that my different way of seeing things was a huge asset − I was able to spot problems and come up with solutions that weren't even being considered. My team listened, and together we were able to work even more successfully.

"While I'm now in a good position and feel respected for who I am, what I am and the way I think, I know that many autistic people aren't so lucky − they're struggling to find work or to stay in work. There’s so much wasted talent. 

"That's why I want to help employers understand the diversity of the autism spectrum and the huge benefits autistic people can bring to the workplace, through diverse thinking. So I've been working with The National Autistic Society, sharing my experiences in the media and I've recently joined the charity's National Forum where I feel I can spread my message further. I've also been active in my workplace, becoming one of their diversity champions, supporting staff awareness training via The National Autistic Society and helping to develop work placements for autistic people.

"When it comes to the issue of 'autism and work', I feel like I've got a duty to hold open the door to the next generation of autistic people. There's a vast untapped pool of talented individuals out there who can help businesses and other employers become stronger and more competitive."

We want to see autistic adults get the jobs they deserve by closing the autism employment gap.

Make your pledge in the workplace

Dinesh

"I have a casual job working in backstage at The National Theatre and really enjoy the role. I have a good understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses and feel comfortable asking for help when I need it.

I don’t need a lot of support but I can struggle to process lots of information so it really helps me to break down instructions at work.

"I am very lucky to have a supportive employer who understands my needs well.

Dinesh

"Things are going well at the moment but I’ve spent a lot of time out of work in the past. It’s the recruitment process that I find most difficult. I have difficulty meeting new people and starting conversations so it’s a real struggle to sell myself in applications and interviews. I find it hard in interview situations to know whether something is relevant or not, or when to say the right information at the right time.

I applied for so many different jobs but kept being rejected, without every receiving a proper reason why.

"It was incredibly frustrating and I eventually lost all my confidence and self-esteem. I became disillusioned, felt very useless and would wonder if anyone was willing to give me a job. It was at the time my mum and piano teacher kept me going - my mum has always said to me “There is nothing you cannot do, the sky’s a limit, you can do anything that other people can do and do it even better.” My mum has always supported me by going to open days, encouraging me, sharing work experiences in regards to employment.

"I think employers need to be a bit more open-minded about the people they hire. I always worry that when they hear the word ‘disability’ and question whether the person can do the job. They just need to give autistic people a chance. And if someone does struggle, they need to be given support to succeed. That can mean showing a certain task to them many times until the person is confident enough to do it independently. I personally feel that all employers should have compulsory training around supporting people with autism and other disabilities in employment and giving them hope." 

We want to see autistic adults get the jobs they deserve by closing the autism employment gap.

Make your pledge in the workplace

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