Stack’s guide to CV building for autistic adults
By Jinaka Ugochukwu
What is a CV?
A CV is a self-promotional tool. It is a summary of your education, the jobs you have done and the skills that you have acquired. An employer will read it to decide whether you are suitable for the job they have on offer.
What does a CV look like?
There are many templates for CVs. But most CVs will include the sections in the image below.
This article is a step by step guide to creating a basic 1-page CV.
Remember you should update your CV as you get more experience and you will need to adapt parts of your CV to the job that you are applying for. Consider every CV a foundation that you build upon and improve.
Writing a CV can feel like an overwhelming task especially if you are looking for your first job or you are an adult with autism and you are not sure that the workplace will be a welcoming world. Stack Recruitment specialises in offering jobs that are suitable for everyone but especially jobs for autistic adults. This is because we work with employers who are welcoming to people with autism and the jobs require candidates who pay attention to detail, who can apply a framework to a process and who strive to get a job done well.
Let’s get writing
This section is quick and straightforward to complete. Completing this section will get you up and running and feeling confident.
|Firstname Lastname |
01234 555 666
- Your email address should be something sensible. Ideally firstname.lastname@example.org
- Be safe online: A potential employer will call you or send you an email. You do not need to include your full address.
This section is an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you are suitable for the role. The paragraph should be short; limit it to about 3 or 4 lines.
You should outline the skills and experience you can offer the company in relation to the role that they have advertised.
This is an archived advert from the jobs section here at Stack Recruitment.
To be successful in this role, you would ideally have experience of working in a similar environment and be able to demonstrate knowledge of processing purchase ledger transactions using a computerised system. You will be comfortable working in a customer focused environment and have a willingness to learn and adapt new skills.
This is an ideal job for an autistic adult who has skills in financial administration, who is computer literate and who is comfortable learning and adapting to the business’ needs.
To write your personal statement
Firstly, highlight the key requirements for the role.
To be successful in this role, you would ideally have experience of working in a similar environment and be able to demonstrate knowledge of processing purchase ledger transactions using a computerised system. You will be comfortable working in a customer focused environment and have a willingness to learn and adapt new skills.
Secondly, address these areas in your personal statement.
I am an experienced administrator who has used Sage extensively to process invoices and reconcile accounts. I’m very good at learning new systems and teaching others how to use them too. I think being efficient and helpful to customers is key and I want to work for a business who thinks the same.
The recruiting manager will then be able to read in an instance whether you are a suitable candidate for the role.
There are many strategies that you can use for writing a personal statement:
The CV library suggests answering these 3 questions:
Here is a bullet point approach by Glassdoor:
Bullet 1: Industry credentials
Bullet 2: What skills you bring
Bullet 3: How you can help the business achieve their objectives,
Bullet 4: A relevant and recent deliverable
And you can find 16 examples of personal statements at Totaljobs.
- Not all CVs include this section. If you include a cover letter with your application you may not consider it necessary.
- Avoid writing a list of adjectives.
- This section should be tailored to each job that you apply for.
Your experiences can include paid work, volunteer work, or skills acquired in other ways. List your most recent role first!
Below is an example of a format you could use and a guide to what you could include for each position.
|Job Title, Company, Location mmm yyyy – ongoing|
Write a summary of your duties and responsibilities. Think about the job you are applying for and highlight the duties and responsibilities that will be most relevant for the job and the employer.
Achievement: Summarise the impact you had on the business, especially if it is quantifiable. Eg I increase sales of Y by X%
- Remember to list your jobs in date order with the most recent at the top.
- Think about the skills and achievements that you want to highlight. Choose skills that can illustrate your suitability for the role that you are applying for.
Most people will list their formal qualifications in this section for example GCSEs, A-Levels, degrees and so on but you can also list other educational achievements. For example, a short course that you have completed such as computer skills, or a coding course or a first aid course.
Relevance and recency are key. What skills and experience does the job require? If you have many options and limited space, choose the qualifications that best represent your ability to do the job.
Qualification, (awarding body) Date
BA Business Administration, (University of London) June 2019
Certificate in First Aid (St John’s ambulance) December 2019
- List your most recent and highest qualifications first.
- If you are a school leaver then you may wish to list all of your GCSEs (or equivalents) and/or your A-levels but if you gain higher qualifications listing each individual GCSE becomes less and less relevant. And you might wish to summarise them (9 GCSEs A-C, including Maths and English) or omit them completely.
- If you don’t have any formal qualifications simply list the dates that you attended any school or college.
List skills that are always relevant and/or that are specifically relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you speak another language that is always relevant. If you can juggle that is not so relevant unless the job is for an entertainer.
- This section could be considered optional especially if you are short on space and you have covered your skills elsewhere in the document.
That’s it. That all you need for the first draft of your CV.
- Remember to check for spelling errors.
- Remember to choose a professional font and be consistent throughout the document.
- Remember to choose the correct font size. Size 12 and size 11are typical for a CV. Headings may be a slightly larger size and bolded.
Now you are ready to find a job to apply for. Stack Recruitment has a great selection of jobs or get in touch if you want help with your CV.
Remember don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. Sometimes people apply for more than 10 jobs before they receive an invitation to interview.
Come back soon for more information on interview techniques and working in a professional environment with autism.
This blog has been kindly written by an anonymous, autistic guest blogger. They have shared their experiences of employment and what they learnt in both their first and second job. This blog is a really honest insight and can hopefully help other autistic adults starting their career.
Years before my Aspergers diagnosis when I was in my early 20’s I got my first job. Up until that point I was in a bubble. I was living at home and my mum was feeling helpless and frustrated. She had a son in his early 20’s who sat around not doing much, who felt lost in life and didn’t know what his ambitions or goals were.
I was applying for jobs but I was never successful. Having no self confidence or no life experience I was stuck in a hole. I finally applied for a job in retail and I was offered the job. It was my first foray in to the real world and It was a harsh reality.
It was pre-diagnosis and although I felt somewhat different I never really knew what the problem was. Just that I was “different” and had difficulties. I thought I was, for lack of a better work, “dumb” so getting this job and going to the interview was terrifying, frightening.
I was interviewed by a lady who turned out to be my manager. She was lovely. I felt nervous but before the interview I read up on the background of the company and I ran through a list of questions I could be asked and I practised Through them. One thing I had learned to become good at was absorbing information, so I used it to my advantage. In the end I got the job. My mum was ecstatic and happy for me. And I was begining my journey into employment.
My First Job and the First Signs of Struggle
Even though I applied for the job it didn’t even occur to me what role I had applied for. I had simply saw the company name and applied not knowing what role I would be filling. To me retail was working on the shop floor. This just showed my naivity and lack of preparedness. The job role was for visual merchandising. Taking stock from downstairs in the basement and filling up shelves on the shop store on the homeware department.
Having had no prior experience in a working environment, lack of communication with work colleagues, and zero self awareness, this wasn’t going to go very well. Looking back at it now I had thrust myself in to an environment that I was ill prepared for.
Lack of Social Awareness and Failure to Understand My Surroundings
My standard of work was very slow. I would start the day by bringing up the stock from the basement to fill up the shelves on the shop floor. If a customer approached me to enquire about where the cutlery was I would walk them to where the items were and just stand there, staring, waiting for the customer to ask another question or until they politely shood me away. It didn’t matter if it was kitchenware, or cutlery, or quilt covers. I would walk the customers over to the items and stand there staring. Looking back now this must have been very unnerving for the customer. Simply pointing them in the right direction would have been sufficient enough but at the time I had no self awareness. This would happen throughout the day whenever a customer approached me. My failure to understand what was going on around me was so bad that I didn’t even realise that I wasn’t getting any work done. I even asked the manager once If I could train for the tills. As good as it is to be eager to learn new skills that wasn’t my job role. But I didn’t seem to grasp that.
If I didn’t understand something I would never ask anybody that worked there. I was too shy and always had my head down.
Being Taken Advantage of and Not Seeing the Signs
I couldn’t differentiate the different departments. All the staff worked on one floor but there were different departments with different staff and a different manager assigned to each one. I just saw them all as one. There was a lady who was working on the department next to mine; Candles and picture frames. If a customer had asked her about a certain item that they didn’t see and wanted she would call me over and ask me to go downstairs to the basement and check for her. She did this more then once in a day. Without even questioning, without even asking her why she can’t do it herself, I would do it. Today, looking back, I’d tell her that I have my own work to do. It’s not my department. I spent so much time in the basement either finding an item for that lady on candles and picture frames or checking for stock that a customer has enquired about. The manager who was in charge of the basement said to me “you should come and work for me. You spend so much time down here”. I didnt understand what she meant. I didn’t know if she was joking. The whole comment was lost on me.
People can take advantage if they can see someone is vulnerable or unaware so it was something that I needed to look out for. Meanwhile; the stock wasn’t being put out. I ended up going home late because I wasn’t finishing my work on time.
The Conclusion of My First Experience in Employment
After a few weeks of not being able to get my work finished and not being up to the job it finally caught up with me. My manager asked to see me in the basement. As we were both walking down I knew what was going to happen. In front of other staff members she screamed and shouted at me. After this embarrassing experience I went off to the toilet, sat there for 15 mins and cried. I was unsure of what to do. I walked out and never went back again.
Looking back today it was not the right thing to do. I should have learnt from my experiences and mistakes and proved them wrong. But I lacked so much experience it was never going to happen.
My New Job: The Turn Around
Experience and Preparedness
After a few months I managed to find another retail job. This time I had some experience behind me. It wasn’t a happy experience but It was something to build on. But I still had a long way to go and I was still scarred from my first experience.
This job had a different atmosphere. It was a lot more busier, had a lot more staff and I felt I could “blend” in a little more. Again, lack of communication and inexperience, came back to plague me. In time I would learn how to improve on my communication a little.
What I Learnt
Communication, Prioritising, Team Work and Learning to be Proactive
I learnt to finally differentiate between the different departments and managers/staff.
I knew what my department was and my role. It wasn’t easy, it took me a few weeks, but I learnt.
I kept to my own department and I’ve had colleagues come to me and say “could you do this” I just explained that I have my work to do. And they were fine with it. If I got my work done I would go to another department and help a colleague and they would help me in return. This was also a way for me to learn how to communicate with other people.
If a customer enquired about a certain department I would point them in the right direction. If I knew that my work would get done and I could see they were lost I would take them there and make my way back, no awkward standing around.
Sometimes if I misunderstood an instruction or a task I simply asked a work colleague. I started to walk with my head high. I also started greeting my work colleagues when I saw them in the mornings.
I would put myself forward for certain jobs such as tills and stock take. It wasn’t easy and it was difficult but in the end I got there. My level of learning is always hampered and slower then average due to being Aspergers but it was a “right of passage” for me.
I learnt that I needed to carry on and learn as I go, that to give up on things means I wouldn’t learn anything. And giving up a job is the wrong thing to do, employment is not easy to come by. I stayed in the second job for a very long time.
This blog has been kindly written by a guest blogger, to share their experiences of travelling when autistic.
Travelling by tube and train and meeting friends at destination points in London was something I got into late in life and it’s obvious by the anxieties I experience at such an advanced age in my 30’s.
I see Aspergers coupled with my inexperience in life as the reason why travelling is something that causes me anxiety. I turn into a lost child unsure of what to do. When ever I travel there is always some sort of trigger. Something that makes me either anxious, frightened, or overwhelmed. I’ve even called my mother to ask for help.
When I’m lost and I’m trying to read a map it is always what I call a “traumatic” experience for me. The only thing visible in my mind is the map jumping out at me as I try to work out how to get from Point A to point B. I panic and I want to cry. This tends to happen if time Is approaching to meet a friend and I don’t want to keep them waiting, or if I have a job interview or an appointment and I’m worried I won’t get there in time.
Train stations are a huge trigger point when it comes to hightening my anxiety and overwhelming me. Stations are always busy with people. The arrival and departure boards with rows and rows of yellow numbers and writing jump out at me, confusing me. There is the loud tannoy announcements. The bright lights in the station. Add these to my constant need to observe what’s around me and my brain has a meltdown. My mind is concentrated on a dozen different things going on at one time. So much so that I don’t know which to focus on. The anxiety I have felt as I try to read the arrival board and work out which platform to enter is an exhausting experience.
Directions. A simple direction from a friend over the phone such as ‘turn left, follow the roundabout, continue walking to your right and then take another right turn’ is not only stressful for me, it is stressful for the person on the other end of the phone. As soon as the directions are given I start to panic, my brain goes into overload. I start to breath heavily, I pick up the phone, call my friend and start shouting down the phone asking which roads to turn. This increases the anxiety level for my friend/s who sometimes end up having to walk down to get me.
International travel or travelling to other places in England such as Manchester or Brighton alone is a big no no. My friends would never suggest it to me knowing my anxiety and my mother would advise against it. Travelling the world opens us up. It’s liberating. Unfortunately I’m not yet ready to take that step.
There are always ways to try and cope with any situation we are faced with. It will take me time to learn how to map read without starting to feel overwhelmed. If I am at a train station I try to stay focused on one thing. I look at the arrival/departure board, I listen very carefully to the tannoy announcement, though it isn’t easy. In extreme cases I approach one of the station staff for help, though I do not like doing it. It has for the most part worked for me and the anxiety isn’t as dibilitating, though I still have my moments.
I have now started to understand why I experience so much anxiety the way that I do and why I react the way that I do in certain situations, especially when it comes to travelling. It’s somewhat comforting to understand the trigger points. My brain is very rigid when it comes to time. I always feel anxious when travelling to places I do not live, that’s just a part of the spectrum. I phone my mother or a friend when I feel lost or overwhelmed because I’m reaching out for comfort or reassurance. I am unable to understand basic instructions or directions, not because I’m stupid, but because my brain processes information very differently from a nuerotypical brain.
Most importantly, for me to cope with daily travel I need to remember to try and stay calm.
This blog has been kindly written by a guest blogger, to give advice to others on the spectrum who want to start dating.
The world of online dating can be shallow and ruthless and for some people like us on the spectrum quiet intimidating and scary.
When I decided to create an online dating profile a few years ago it was something I went into with naivety and massive expectations of finding a life partner. Instead it turned out to be a life journey.
It was something I needed to do no matter how scary. In the end it proved beneficial for me in learning how to socialise one on one with people I had never previously met.
Creating a profile
When I created a profile I used just a tiny picture of my face. I was shy and lacked confidence. My profile was uninspiring and didn’t say much.
To push myself I would message a profile of somebody that I thought was interesting. Often times they wouldn’t reply back and I would take it to heart and felt upset about it. Sometimes if I messaged somebody and they didn’t reply back I would send multiple messages in the hope they would end up replying. And sometimes they would actually reply back and when they did I wasn’t sure what to say to them. I would often send replies in quick succession within an hour.
I didn’t have any friends and I hardly ever travelled anywhere unless it was to my job, and that was local. Although I was an adult ‘stranger danger’ was always in the back of my mind due to my inexperience with people, my trusting nature, and having trouble with understanding a persons intentions.
Starting the conversation
I would start out small and ask them their names and what their jobs were, their hobbies, and I would tell them mine. As is usual with online dating they would ask to meet up in person. I did not know how to take trains and I didn’t feel comfortable travelling to other parts of London. Most of all I didn’t know them so I was frightened that they may have ulterior motives to laugh at me or harm me. I decided to compromise; I would meet them local to me and In familiar surroundings and make sure it was crowded. I didn’t want to and was frightened to step out of my comfort zone.
Meeting someone in person
Meeting someone in person after talking with them online was a difficult experience for me. I either spoke too little, or I spoke too much.
I have a passion for film and history and when I spoke about these two subjects I would go into immense detail. I would add in timelines and specific historical dates or talk at length about set pieces and soundtracks used in films. When it was time for the other person to speak about their interests I would have my head down and not say much. I would also find myself agreeing with what ever they said, even if I didn’t agree with it or not share that interest. I was desperate to impress.
I was oblivious about reading body language and understanding chemistry. Often times if I liked the person I would start bombarding them with messages 2 minutes after departing from the date. I would ask them how they found the date, if they liked me, and when they wanted to meet again. It always the same outcome, they wouldn’t.
This scenario kept on repeating itself. It went the same way each time. Sometimes if a date went wrong I would cry once I got home. I couldn’t understand why nobody wanted to date me, why I kept messing it up.
I didn’t want to give up. As awful as I was on these dates nothing would change in life if I just gave up. I decided I had to continue with the online dating. I had to learn to face fears. Although it wasn’t going to be easy I decided to step outside of my comfort zone.
A person I was speaking to online suggested we meet in the centre of London. It was a suggestion that terrified me. I stay in my local area and I never traveled by train but it was something that I needed to do so I said yes. I asked my mum to sit down with me and explain how the train system worked. I then did it; I stepped outside of my comfort zone. It wasn’t easy. It was an unnerving experience as I find places that I do not travel to overwhelming but I had a nice evening. It felt good that I had stepped out and conquered the impossible. Things started to change.
My whole perspective on online dating shifted. I had begun to realise that finding a partner can not be forced, that meeting people that I wouldn’t normally have met and in a one on one setting was beneficial to me learning how to socialise.
I started slowly travelling to places in London to meet people for dates. Finally I had found the confidence and courage to travel on trains and to wider areas in my city. I also began to feel confidence within myself. On dates I was forced to talk about myself, my interests, and my dislikes. I had to force myself to listen and to ask questions to my dates.
If I contacted somebody online and they didn’t reply it started to not bother me. I’m not what they are looking for. It’s a natural part of dating. It happens to everybody. If I messaged somebody and they messaged me back I would no longer bombard them with messages. I took it slow. If I liked someone I met on a date I would no longer message them at the end of the date. I’d leave it a day or two and then send them a message. The pictures on my profile started to appear more confident.
I started to see the benefits of my new found confidence. Some of the people that I was meeting for dates wanted to see me again….on a friendship basis. Throughout my teens and much of my twenties I was a loner and I never had any friends, now I have a group of them. They are very accepting of me and my autism.
I use online dating occasionally now. I see it as a bit of fun, a chance to meet new people and improve my social skills. If I meet a partner then great. If not it’s a chance to make new friends. Me joining the world of online dating was one of the best decisions I ever made. It wasn’t and isn’t easy but It has helped me along in life and helped me to understand that dating is something that happens naturally and is not to be forced. Don’t take it serious. In time things fall in to place and in hindsight I was never ready for a relationship anyway when I first went into online dating. As somebody on the autistic spectrum I overcame a massive hurdle.
Online dating tips for those on the spectrum
1. Disclosing your autism
When you create a profile you don’t need to disclose you are on the spectrum. If you send somebody a message and do not get a reply then leave it and move on, do not keep sending them messages. If you get a reply or somebody messages you do not send them messages every 10 minutes. Take your time and reply when ready and give the other person time to message you.
2. Having no expectations
Always approach a date with no expectations. If you are nervous, they are also nervous. If when you leave the date and you like a person do not send them messages or ask them if they like you. Leave it a day or two and then send them a message, be neutral. Ask them how they are doing and see how they reply. Remember; if they aren’t interested in you it is normal. Don’t take it personal. It’s a hard part of dating and meeting people in general.
3. Talking too much and going into too much detail
When you talk about yourself do not go into too much detail. They don’t need to know specific dates and timelines of your favourite historical event. You don’t need to describe your favourite film and give a reel by reel analysis. I wouldn’t mention things like politics or religion. Keep it light. And do not talk about odd subjects like UFO encounters. Remember to ask your date questions about themselves and their interests. Listen to what they are saying and show an interest.
4. Leaving a bad date
Occasionally you might meet somebody who from the offset is very rude or stand off’ish. If you feel uncomfortable make an excuse and politely excuse yourself from the date. Do not take offence as it is them who have an attitude, or maybe they have had a bad day. Unfortunately things like this can happen when you choose to meet somebody you were talking to online.
5. Staying safe
Stranger danger. Do not overanalyse. People that are online are there for the same reasons you are. Always meet them in a public place and tell somebody where you are going it it makes you feel safer. It’s important to be safe but don’t go overboard with it.
The term neurodiversity was developed by Judy Singer in 1998. However, as we all know, a lot has changed in the two decades since the first research about neurological differences was published.
The neurodiversity movement has made its way throughout the non-profit sector and is gradually making space for itself within government, research and education.
But why hasn’t neurodiversity made space for itself within workplaces? Or instead, why haven’t workplaces made space for neurodiversity?
This article aims to help further your understanding of neurodiversity, help you start embracing neurodiversity within your workplace and create systemic change.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity refers to the infinite variety of human neurocognitive styles and how everyones brain works differently. While society has often celebrated biodiversity and cultural diversity, neurodiversity and invisible disabilities such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD have often been considered a medical disorder, which the primary objective to ‘solve’ these disabilities and make people better.
The neurodiversity movement focuses on shifting neurodiversity from a medical to a social perspective and aims to help individuals view these natural differences in in the way we think and do as strengths that can truly benefit employers.
Examples of neurodiversity includes:
- Autism and Aspergers Syndrome
- Tourette syndrome
In 2020, the neurodiversity movement is gathering momentum, and is now being used in workplaces to hire and attract talent that have alternative ways of thinking. Neurodivergent individuals can bring a variety of unique strengths to their work – from innovation, creativity, attention to detail, problem-solving and intense focus.
There are now many corporates embracing the neurodiversity movement, from JP Morgan, Microsoft and SAP. All have started programmes aimed at hiring more autistic individuals and realise the exceptional benefits of doing so. However, there is still a long way to go, with many organisations focused on the challenges associated with neurodivergent employees in the workplace rather than their strengths.
What are the reasons causing the neurodiversity movement?
1. Greater awareness of the neurodiverse population
Over the past two decades there has been a greater knowledge of the number of people that are neurodivergent around the world. This has resulted in more people getting diagnosed as well as the production of books, TV series and movies featuring autistic characters. This has highlighted the everyday reality neurodiverse people face as well as educating people about the behaviours and skills they have. UK figures suggest 1 in 10 people are neurodivergent which likely represents a high number of employees, job-seekers and customers.
2. Celebrities have been openly discussing their experiences
Over the past couple of years, many famous people have started openly talking about their neurodivergence. From Greta Thurnberg, Anne Hegarty, Susan Boyle and Richard Branson. In Richard Bransons blog he spoke about his dyslexia and how “dyslexic people can be hugely creative in identifying solutions to problems, and to coming up with new ways to tackle challenges.”… “From my own experience, I know that dyslexic people can achieve great things when they focus on their strengths and get the right support in school.”
3. There has been increased understanding
There has been a key shift from the medical framing of autism, ADHD and other conditions and so now neurodiversity isn’t seen as something to be ‘cured’ but instead celebrated. This has led to an increased appreciation of the unique strengths the neurodiverse population offers but also the challenges posed, when trying to make our neurotypical focused way of life accessible to others.
4. The global search for talent
According to Manpower, 40% of global employers are struggling to find the talent they need. With talent being a much desired but competitive resource, employers are having to diversify their thinking and look outside of their traditional recruitment methods to hire the next generation of talent.
Given the high number of neurodivergent individuals and the high unemployment rates, this represents a huge, untapped talent pool that can really benefit our workforce, bringing new skill sets, innovations and talents.
But how do we embrace neurodiversity in the workplace?
1. Implement reasonable adjustments
We often hear the phrase ‘reasonable adjustments’ floating around when we’re thinking of hiring disabled employees. But what does this actually mean in theory and in practice?
Reasonable adjustments are changes put in place to ensure disabled people can overcome any substantial disadvantages they may have within the recruitment process, doing their job and progressing in work.
Its important to seriously consider making adjustments to ensure you get the best out of each employee and they can utilise their full potential. Most adjustments are simple to make and can even benefit neurotypical employees. These include things like communicating clearly, providing quiet break spaces and considering each persons individual needs.
Examples of reasonable adjustments on the job include:
- Providing them with equipment to support them.
- Giving them a quiet, distraction free area to work so they can focus.
- Altering their working hours so they can avoid stressful rush hours.
- Allowing them to wear noise cancelling earphones or blue light glasses.
- Allowing them to take short, regular breaks to avoid getting overwhelmed or stressed.
- Giving them a clear point of contact or mentor if they need extra support.
- Working together to understand their working style and how a manager can best communicate with them.
2. Make your application process accessible
Making your recruitment processes more accessible is a simple way to attract more neurodiverse candidates. Small changes like making job descriptions structured, clear and concise while avoiding the use of complicated, metaphorical language can make your roles a lot easier to understand. Job descriptions should be split into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ skill sets.
As well as this, its useful to have a in depth look at your recruitment processes and get neurodiverse individuals to go through the process to provide insight on how accessible it really is. Examples of things you can do include:
- Providing candidates with an easy way to disclose any disability and making them aware of any support they can get from the beginning.
- Making your application process simple to use and follow.
- Enabling accessibility features, such as enlarged font, contrasting colours and underlined links so its easy to navigate.
- Using clear, concise and structured language.
3. Make your interview methods accessible
A huge part of the recruitment process are interviews. Interviews can be a scary experience for neurotypical candidates, but 10x harder for someone neurodiverse.
Most interview methods focus on accessing candidates in two key areas: confidence and communication. These two areas can often put neurodiverse candidates at a disadvantage, making it difficult for them to be themselves and communicate their skills needed for the role. This means that neurodiverse candidates often miss out on roles they might have been perfect for.
Some neurodiverse candidates may take questions literally (such as what their weaknesses are), get anxious in an environment they do not know, struggle with eye contact and answering ‘left field’ questions.
To make your interview process more accessible to autistic individuals there are several things you can do. These include:
- Providing them with a quiet area they can take breaks and relax.
- Providing them with pictures of the people they will be interacting with. This could be both the interviewers and the reception staff so they know who they’re going to be meeting.
- Providing clear instructions about accessing buildings and directions.
- Providing them with a clear structure of the day including timings so they know what to expect and how to prepare.
- Avoiding open ended questions.
- Allowing them time to think about the questions and process their thoughts.
- Using interview spaces that are free from distractions, loud noises and bright lights.
4. Create an inclusive culture
Its likely that your workforce employs neurodiverse employees already but you don’t know it. Creating a culture that fosters communication about neurodiversity is essential. It enables employees to be who they are, creates neurodiverse representation which will in turn encourage more individuals to apply for your vacancies.
Other ways you can do this is through employee training to increase their understanding about neurodiversity. This can really help peoples perceptions and ‘demystify’ it, as well as being able to ask any questions.
How you can start a neurodiversity movement in your workplace
Start the conversation
Its really important to simply start the conversation. Speak to HR and Diversity and Inclusion to see what they’re doing to employ more neurodiverse employees and understand the diversity of their workforce.
Look at the data
Have a look at the composition of your workforce and see what percentage of the workforce is disabled and neurodiverse.
Get in touch
Stack helps employers to hire more neurodiverse employees. We continuously support job-seekers and employees to help them find the very best roles and recruit the very best talent.
Take a look at our website or email us on email@example.com to see how we can help.
Corona virus has impacted the way that we are all working. With the majority of companies now working from home to limit the risk of spread, we have all had to adapt to how we work.
It is disputed that a lot more companies will now offer remote working even after Corona virus because of how effective and easy it has been to implement and the opportunity that it offers employees such as seeing their families more and saving money by not having to commute.
While working from home has not been the biggest of challenges for us all it has been and continues to be a difficult transition for autistic employees.
This week’s blog will offer 5 tips to help autistic employees develop a new routine and transition to the new normal of working from home.
1. Keeping your morning routine
The first tip that we recommend is keeping your morning routine the same. What we mean by this is keeping your morning schedule running as normal as possible so, waking up at the same time and following your usual daily actives, like showering and eating breakfast. This is so you don’t have to experience more change than necessary and so that you do not need to alter your daily routines any further.
Although working from home has been hard, its particularly hard for those on the spectrum, and can significantly cause anxiety and impact their mental health.
- Waking up an hour later every day can affect your work productivity. For instance, having a lie in will leave you feeling de-energized for work when you do have to get up to join your Monday morning weekly meeting at 9am.
- Or how consistently getting up later each morning may result in you going to bed later each night. Until one morning you miss your alarm and become late for your work meeting which can could have disastrous consequences for your employment.
- Or even how getting up later could also affect your routine and productivity if you had to work from the office one morning. Resulting in you having to alter your routine to get up earlier to commute in; and by the time you are in your have a very unproductive day because your so tired as you had to get up and leave an hour early to arrive on time.
2. Getting dressed
Our second recommendation is to make sure you are getting dressed. It is easy to just sit in our pyjamas all day and I’m sure it is something we are all guilty of doing at least once!
Choosing to not get dressed when working from home can have consequences for out work. It has been proven that not getting dressed decreases our productivity.
For an autistic employee getting dressed for work is another part of their morning routine and altering this as we have already mentioned can result in more barrier for their day to day activity so we recommend for this reason that you continue to follow this part of your routine and get dressed ready for work.
Another reason we recommend this is because sitting in your pyjamas all day everyday can take a toll on ones mental health. Autistic individuals are more likely that neuro-typical individuals to suffer from mental health conditions.
Sitting in one’s pyjamas all day can make you feel sluggish, depressed and affect your motivation. For somebody autistic these feelings are likely to be amplified and come on faster.
To stop this occurring we recommend that you continue to get dressed ready for work as it will help your state of mind, continue your routine meaning less change and is just the more professional thing to do.
3. Space to work
The third tip we want to advise is that you make sure you have somewhere that you can work. This space should be light, clean, quiet, and organised.
Having your own space equipped with all the things you need and may require will allow you to focus and will help increase your productivity as you won’t have to break momentum to go and grab the highlighter you left in your bag in the hallway.
We also recommend laying your desk out the way it is at your work this will again help you with the change and routine as everything will be in the more familiar layout that you are used to.
If you do not have a spare room or an office that you can call your own space I would recommend finding a nook in one of the rooms you do have that you can make sure own such as the kitchen table. I would advise against working from your bed and this is not good for your posture and is not an ideal space for writing and making notes.
4. Scheduling dates
Working from home will result in using a variety of different methods of communication such as zoom and Microsoft teams calls, WhatsApp voice notes, and Whereby video calls. Using a variety of platforms can get confusing therefore, it is best to have a diary to schedule in daily calls and activities. This will help to keep your work-life organised and keep your focus and productivity up.
There are many ways you may choose to schedule your appointments for example you might find that a wall planner is best for you; as everything gets complied on one sheet. Similarly, a diary is another option, you can view a daily or weekly schedule and there is normally a notes section that you can use throughout the day.
Another option is an online calendar such as google calendar this may be more effective if you are constantly using different platforms for calls as you can add the links so it takes you directly to the call. It also notifies you 10 minutes before that you have a call due.
5. Taking breaks…
Autistic employees are often described as hard workers and being at home they will work just as hard as they would in their job. One of the struggles for them being at home is that they will get so focused in what they are doing that they will not realise the time and will forget to take their breaks.
It is easy to forget when working from home to take your allotted breaks. Taking breaks will allow you time to rest and recover, to eat and drink and just do something that has no focus or relevance to your work whatsoever. This is important as it can affect your productivity and can re-energize you for the second half of your day. Taking your much-needed breaks also gets you up and about which as previously stated can impact your mental health. It gets you moving which is one of the contributing factors to ill-mental health.
Taking breaks also decreases your chance of burn-out and can affect your physical health too as it forces you to do something other than look at a computer screen all day which can cause headaches.
Thanks for reading this weeks blog, we hope that we have addressed some of the challenges with transitioning to working from home and that you have found our advice and tips useful. We hope that this blog is useful for you not only now during Corona virus but also if the future should you ever be torn between working remotely or from your job site.
For other useful resources visit our blog.
For this weeks blog we have created a list of the best TV programmes and films you can watch about autism.
We’ve included a summary of what the film or TV show is about, how its been rated, what people thought of it and where you can find it, as well as linking the trailer.
We hope that this will not only keep you entertained during this crazy time but also offer you an alternative way to learn about autism.
Miracle Run (The Unexpected Journey) – 2004
Miracle Run is a film set out to challenge the social stigmatisation and discrimination of autistic children. A mother of twin boys Phillip and Stephen, life drastically changes once her boys get diagnosed with autism.
The film sets out some of the challenges that autistic parents and individuals may find themselves in, such as the struggle of being diagnosed.
In the film, Corrine Morgan-Thomas, the mother of the twins has to visit many doctors and a specialist before her boys are diagnosed with autism. Philip has echolalia, which is where he repeats words that he hears people say while Stephen is the opposite and is completely mute.
Furthermore, it demonstrates the challenge of acceptance with Corrine herself in shock and disbelief at first, her boyfriend leaving her, and her children saying that he does not want to deal with autism; and the boys’ new school telling her she should find another school for the boys when they find out that they are autistic. The film follows the boys into their teenage years where we see them develop and succeed; proving that autistic children are capable of doing things that all other children can.
Miracle Run is currently on amazon prime if you would like to watch it however you will have to pay to watch it as it is not included within the prime subscription.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 7.4/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 89%
‘This film shows how hard bringing up children with autism is, and how some people have narrowed views about the children. For parent of autistic children or anyone who comes into contact with someone on the spectrum it shows how certain strategies can be used.
What makes this film even better is that it is based on a true story. If I had to rate this film i would give it 10 out of 10, as it nails all the stereotypes and gives a brilliant and insightful look into the life of a family who’s children are autistic. ‘This review comes from an independent blog post
‘I wonder if this was a made-for-TV movie? It’s a sappy, sentimental film about a strong mother who refuses to give up on her autistic sons. I can’t fault the film’s messages about not treating the kids any differently and refusing to acknowledge autism as a disability.
However, I would have liked to see the mother’s character struggle a bit more. She never seemed to have a moment of doubt, or throw her hands up and not know what to do’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes rating it a 3/5 *
A-typical is a TV series that follows the life of an 18-year old boy called Sam who is on the autism spectrum. In this series we watch Sam decide that he wants to have a girlfriend and gain more independence from his family. We see how he copes with high school, friendships, work and family life.
Series one to three is available to stream on Netflix. The show has proven to be a hit after they announced they’re producing a fourth series earlier this year.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 8.3/10
- Rotten tomatoes – 87%
‘As a person with higher functioning autism, I find some aspects of this show relatable and depicted in a funny and wholesome way. If you are at all interested in the topic of autism (which you should be) I suggest giving this show a watch.’Review published to the metacritic from frederikb.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a film based on a novel. It portrays a young boy with autism and his relationship with his father who dies in the 9/11 attack shortly into the film.
Oskar, the young boy finds a key in a vase and sets out on a mission across the 6 boroughs to find out what the key was for. Throughout the film we see him breaking down the barriers of his autism as he has to use the subway and enter large busy bustling cities.
You can rent Extremely loud and incredibly close on amazon or buy/rent it from the google play store.
To watch the extremely loud and incredible close trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 6.9
- Rotten Tomatoes – 46%
‘Extremely loud and incredibly close. Is a hard movie to watch. And not for the reasons you might think. As the parent of a autistic child. I found Thomas Horn’s performance almost uncannily like my son’s. The movie has a simple plot.
Oskar lost his father in 9/11. He was incredibly devoted to his father. His Father Tom always found things for him to do that got him involved in one way or the other in the real world. His mother wonderfully played by Sandra Bullock stands at the sidelines and let’s the father and son Bond.
Tom creates a searching game. He gives Oskar a mission and provided the clues. After his father dies. Oskar finds a key in a blue vase, in his father’s closet. He takes this to mean it’s a quest from his Dad. Struggling with his loss he goes on this quest to find his Dad. What he finds and what he experiences will change his life and his mother’s life forever. As well as the people he meets on his quest.
Tom Hanks has basically a extended cameo but he turns in a startling job. Hanks does a emotional job that is refreshing and vibrant. As Tom Schell he wants his son to transcend the boundaries of his Asperger’s. He want’s Oskar to learn how to function in the real world by interacting with people.
As a parent of a child with Asperger’s this movie was so hard to watch at times. Simply because I saw my own son reflected in the movie. I enjoyed this movie because it felt so true to life for me. Worth watching if you like this kind of story.’Review left on IMDb
The Good Doctor
Shaun Murphy is a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome who relocates from the country to join a prestigious hospital surgical unit. He struggles to connect to those around him and uses his medical gifts to save lives and challenge the skepticism around him.
The Good Doctor currently has three series and can be watched and streamed on Sky, Now TV, Amazon and ABC.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 8.2
- Rotten Tomatoes – 63%
‘There have been few storylines that stand out beyond the typical medical drama; this one’s just done well enough to make you buy in, thanks especially to Freddie Highmore’s committed, layered turn.’Review published to Rotten tomatoes by top critic Ben Travers
Temple Gradin is a film based on the life of a young autistic woman who overcomes the limitations and barriers facing her as a result of her disability to graduate with a Ph.D. and become an expert in her field of animal husbandry.
With a passion for animals developed from spending time at her Aunt and Uncles ranch, the audience learns that she did not speak until she was four years old and struggled through high school.
Most notably, however, she is known for creating her “huge box” which is a widely recognised way of relieving stress in autistic children and her humane design for the treatment of cattle in processing plants which have been published in several books and won her awards.
Today, however, she is a professor at a university in the United States and a well-known speaker on autism and animal handling.
Temple Gradin can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Google Play.
To watch the trailer for Temple Gradin please click here
- IMDb rating – 8.3/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 100%
‘Riveting true story of a young autistic woman’s journey.’Published on Rotten on Tomatoes
‘Inspirational, insightful, uniquely realized, and undoubtedly fascinating, Temple Grandin is yet another strong biopic from HBO. Based on the life of Temple Grandin, an amazing woman with autism who has added both hope and understanding to the condition. It’s through her work that we understand the autistic mind as a complex one, capable of remarkable brilliance, thinking visually and able to replicate and recall images to an unbelievable degree.
The film goes through Temple’s life and major experiences, but does so without a “by the numbers approach”. It accomplishes this through an amazing performance from Claire Danes, who completely inhibits Temple Grandin. The narrative allows us to better understand her mind by giving us flashes of the sort of visuals she experiences, while always keeping narrative focus.
The film doesn’t pander to her or those with autism, but rather transcends condescending notions by showing the underling ability that often goes unnoticed and cultivated. Overall, it’s an effective, resonate, and strongly executed biopic. 4/5 Stars’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes
The A word
The Hughes family work and love and fight like every other family. Then, their youngest son is diagnosed with autism and they don’t feel like every other family anymore. The series shows a journey of how the family cope with the revelation that their son has autism.
The A word is a British Broadcasting Corporation programme and can be watched on BBC One or streamed for catch up through the BBC Iplayer.
To watch the trailer of The A word please click here
- IMDb rating – 7.7/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 89%
‘The A Word is a tapestry reflecting that autism diagnoses affect how families live and view the world but do not necessarily consume them… This structure allows The A Word to take a break from the serious and real in order to be funny.’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes by a top critic
Charlie Babbit is a self-centered Los Angles-based automobile dealer who is estranged from his father.
As a teenager, Charlie crashes his father’s car and ends up in jail for two days as his father had reported it stolen.
It is then that Charlie learns his estranged father has died and left him a huge bed of roses and a car in his will.
His father also leaves another gift of $3 Million in a trust fund, however, this was not left to Charlie but someone else.
Charlie pretty angry by this, decides to look into this matter. It seems as if that “someone” is Raymond, Charlie’s unknown brother, an autistic savant who lives in a world of his own, resides at the Walbrook Institute.
Charlie then kidnaps Raymond and decides to take him on a lust for life trip to the west coast as a threat to get the $3 Million inheritance.
Rain man is available to watch and stream on Amazon, iTunes and Google play.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 8/10
- Rotten tomatoes – 89%
‘Rain Man is a moving story about two brothers, one a selfish yuppie named Charlie Babbitt who cares only about the importance of money and the other named Raymond who is a autistic and doesn’t know anything about the importance of money. Charlie realizes that his father left three million dollars to Raymond and little to him, as he also realizes Raymond is his brother! Charlie kidnaps Raymond from his residential home and begins a long journey and discovery that will forever change both their lives.
Rain Man is a completely moving, emotional, funny, and unforgettable movie. Dustin Hoffman is one of my favorite actors and plays his most memorable role as well as Tom Cruise, who gives a great performance that helped a lot in launching most of his career. The direction by Barry Levinson is stunning and of course, his best yet. Overall, the film is a timeless classic that moves me in every way. This is definitely one of the best films of the 80’s and one of my all time favorites. Yea, definitely, definitely, recommend it!’Review left on IMDb
‘Rain Man cheers up its audience but avoids sentimentality. Films like that are rare.’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes
For a more extensive list of films and television show on autism please click here
We hope that you have found this list of films and TV programmes to be enjoyable and that it has not only entertained you but offered you a greater insight into autism. As well as giving you an alternative method of learning about the barriers and challenges facing autistic individuals and their families. Other great recreational activities we are suggesting, you can find here.
By Jinaka Ugochukwu
According to a 2017 survey carried out by the NAS (National Autistic Society), only 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment and 77% of those unemployed would like to be in employment.
How can we bridge the Autistic employment gap?
It can be especially daunting if you’re a parent and your child is leaving education and thinking about their next steps, including finding a job and becoming an adult.
The following tips are useful to consider if you are a parent or carer of an autistic child and they are starting to look for a job.
1.Help to explore interests and skills
There are many ways to think about interests and skills but the next four activities may give you some inspiration.
Ask the person you are supporting about a typical day (or they can write it down). They/you should note down what activities they do. Then rate each activity on a scale from 1 to 3 (1- I love doing it, 2- I don’t mind doing it, 3- I really dislike it)
This activity can help someone to identify what they may like to do more or less of and perhaps what activities they may like in an ideal job.
Starting with the activities that are rated 1 (I love doing it), use post-it notes to list what skills are involved in completing that activity. This website may help you think about activities from a skills-based perspective.
Use the list of skills and think of a job that requires at least one of the skills. The more skills in the skill list it uses the better.
2. Explore their strengths and weaknesses
Ask the person you are supporting to answer these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What have others complimented me about?
- Which projects and tasks seem to use up my energy?
- What have others had to help me with on more than one occasion?
- What can I spend hours doing without feeling tired or bored?
- When I have free time what do I like to do? Why?
These answers in addition to the answers from Activities 1-3 can start to paint a picture of jobs that might be suitable.
2.Discuss this important question: Independent or supported employment?
Can they work independently or do they need supported employment?
If supported work is needed in the workplace, the government scheme called Access to Work (in the UK) might be useful. It is a scheme which provides grants to support people in the workplace and can help an employer pay for specialist equipment or any other adjustments which can help an individual in the workplace.
3. Explore ‘autistic friendly’ organisations together
In theory, every organisation should be an autism friendly workplace but the reality is sometimes different. Theres a few ways to find employers that can really support your child.
Firstly, the disability confident scheme recognises employers that are committed to hiring disabled employees.
Secondly, there are increasingly many schemes in places that recognises employers that are committed to hiring autistic individuals. These include P&G, Siemens, Auticon and Ernest and Young.
Stack only partners with autistic friendly organisations. Register here if you’re looking for employment.
4. Set a good example and share your work experiences
If you are employed it can be really helpful to share your experiences, including talking about what you do, what you do on a daily basis and rituals. Examples of these include making small talk in the mornings, contributing to collections and signing birthday cards and navigating the office lifestyle.
5. Offer guidance on writing CVs and cover letters
Many jobs still require an application form or a CV. Therefore, completing either of these can be really difficult for every job-seeker, not just an adult with autism.
Check out our guide to writing a basic CV so you can be in the best position to support an autistic individual with this task.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get access to our CV and cover letter templates.
6. Offer assistance writing application forms
Did you know that the key to a successful application form is to show competence in a skill?
Bear this in mind when someone asks you for help. The STAR framework is a popular way for people to think about their experiences and demonstrate competence in required skills. This technique can be useful both in applications, cover letters and interviews.
S Situation Where/When/With whom?
T Task Describe what you hoped to achieve
A Action Describe what you did
R Result What did you achieve? What skills did you develop?
‘While I typically like to plan out my work in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. Once, in a previous role, an employee left days before the imminent deadline of one of his tasks. I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about it and complete it. I asked other people to help and delegated tasks so we were all able to complete it with a day to spare.’
7. Mock interviews
Great, so your child has got a job interview! This is fantastic news, but can be daunting for an autistic individual.
One way to prepare for this is through role play. A good way to do this is by using the job description and preparing potential interview questions such as:
- Why do you want this role?
- Give me an example of a time where you’ve worked well in a team?
- What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
Wearing appropriate clothing can help it feel more realistic and you can even ask someone you know to act as the employer, which may make it feel more formal. This helps your child prepare for the interview and practice in a less formal setting.
8. Brush up on the law
a) If you think the person you’re helping would benefit from adjustments so they they can perform their best at interviews and within the job the law could help.
b) However, an individual doesn’t have to disclose the fact they’re autistic, but could benefit in three key ways:
- Employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ within the recruitment process and the job
- If reasonable adjustments are put in place, people are likely to be more successful at work and may find work less stressful.
- If colleagues know that someone is autistic, they are likely to be more understanding which can help build better relationships.
9. Collaborate on a safety plan
We really hope everything goes well in the workplace however remember this final tip just in case.
Support them to write a safety plan that they can follow. The plan will remind them about how they want to manage a situation that isn’t going well.
The following questions can help them form this plan:
- How will you know that all isn’t well?
- Who will you tell?
- How would you want them to help you?
Most people find the process of looking for work artificial, stressful and difficult to manage. We hope this article has given you tips and tricks to support your autistic child to make it a more comfortable process.
If your child is looking for work, get in touch with us at email@example.com to see how we can support them on their journey.
Monday 8th June 2020
Last week Matt, my autistic brother, got promoted to director of the MOT centre he works for!
As a family, we are so proud of how far Matt has come. He left college at 16, with a talent for mechanics and a desire to learn and help others.
Despite this he often found meeting new people, doing interviews and expressing his feelings.
My Mum supported him to get a job when he left college at a local garage. Instead of working on cars, he found himself working at the managers farm with cows.
He was being clearly taken advantage of and not being able to utilise his skills.
A few jobs later, he’s now at a job he loves and is supported by a fantastic team who understands him.
His confidence has increased significantly and he’s now married to his lovely wife.
He’s now managing an MOT centre where he has to look after customers and find solutions to all our car problems – a heroic task in itself.
Despite this hard work, he never shy’s away from a ‘what does this flashing symbol on my car dashboard mean?’ text from us!
As many of you know, Matt was a huge inspiration in starting Stack and I am a true believer that with the right support and environment, every autistic individual really can thrive.
There are over 400,000 others like my brother here in the UK, with a desire to start their career and follow their dreams.
We are working really hard to educate employers on the benefits autistic individuals can bring and supporting them to create a neurodiverse workforce.
Hope everyones staying safe!
With everything that is going on in the news and on social media at the moment concerning black lives matter and George Floyd it was only fitting to write this week’s blog on the intersectionality of BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) and autism. Despite there being over 700, 000 people living with autism in the UK, from a variety of backgrounds, identities, and cultures there is little research on the experiences and challenges of black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals with autism. Therefore this week’s blog will be a research post that aims to outline some of the barriers of autistic BAME individuals and their families and identify some of the ways you can help.
The Research: Diverse perspective
After producing studying a variety of research, The National Autistic Society realised that there was a lack of information about the experiences and challenges faced by BAME communities with autism. So, in 2012 they set out to address this need by carrying out a focus group of parents, careers, and children with autism to explore the barriers they face in accessing service. 130 people participated in this research, of which 71 identified themselves as either Asian or specified Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Vietnamese. 56 identified themselves as black, 2 as white, and 1 as Middle Eastern. Participants were asked to consider three key questions.
- What support do you and your family need in relation to autism?
- What are the challenges in getting the help you need?
- If it has been difficult to get help, why do you think that is?
Those involved were encouraged to consider the potential impact of ethnicity, faith and religious beliefs, gender, and language when considering the questions. In short, many families stated that their difficulties were down to their Childs autism and not their ethnicity. Although this was the case many also faced additional barriers that appear to reflect shared experiences within BAME communities.
Getting a diagnosis
The first challenge that was experienced by all was the challenge of getting a diagnosis. While this is a challenge for all it may be particularly apparent in BAME communities as they are tend to live in higher inequality areas that are underfunded. As a result, they may lack the necessary infrastructure or their services may not meet their cultural needs.
This is evident in the study produced by The Equalities National Council and Scope (2012) which found that many disabled people from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds in the UK are unable to access the services they need.
They reported that 44% of BME disabled people are living in household poverty, compared to 32% of all disabled people and 17% of the population as a whole.
Schools not noticing the signs of autism
Another challenge that was experienced by the group as a whole was that schools were not noticing the signs of autism. The group discussed how often their children when labeled as having behaviour problems. Again this could be more apparent with black children, boys in particular because of prejudice and stereotyping. Too often, people’s first assumptions with black children, is that they are naughty and have behavioural difficulties. They often because of this don’t look any further into the issues that the child is facing.
Similarly, failing to notice delayed development and speech is prominent in BAME children with autism as often English is not their first language so speech development is put down as them having difficulty learning and using English.
Shame and Blame
Shame and blame was also another common factor between parents and careers of this group. Due to a lack of knowledge and awareness of autism within communities and religions, bad behaviour was often put down to bad parenting. Families felt embarrassed about taking their autistic child out in public. Not only that but some BAME communities may hold a stigma about disabled children so parents may avoid talking about the topic. There is a real need for more autism resources and awareness to be available in a variety of languages to help BAME communities battle this barrier.
Cultural Stigma and Negative views
This is something experienced far more by BAME families and individuals with autistic children. As mentioned previously one cultural view is that autism as a disability is not a condition but bad parenting and is something that can be ‘cured’. There is a lack of role models or high profile cases of autistic BAME individuals and as a result some associate it to be a white-only condition.
Language and Communication Barriers
Information on autism in the UK is primarily in English and for BAME families this can be a difficulty as some may speak no, or little English making the information inaccessible to them. They often have no access to translators and when interpreters are available the information they relay is not always accurate as they can misunderstand or insert their own cultural assumptions, losing the clarity that professionals can offer. Those that can speak English have stated that they struggle reading the information because it contains too much professional jargon or that they do not feel comfortable asserting themselves in discussion with a UK professional about their Child’s health and education
There are still so many more challenges facing BAME autistic individuals and their families. (i.e. Denial, isolation of parents and careers, and difficulty finding the right support). For more information on these and other challenges faced by BAME autistic individuals please see the link. As previously stated we have been able to recognise just a few to see the full extent of the inter-sectional challenges of BAME autistic individuals. There must be more research done.
What you can do to help raise awareness of these challenges:
Write to your local MP
Let them know how you feel about the subject, educate them on the lack of research on BAME in autism. Ask them to raise this issue and make sure that Policy-makers and commissioners properly assess the needs of BAME communities when producing autism policy and commissioning autism services.
Raise awareness of this issue on social media, to your friends and family.
Check in with your Groups and friends
If you know of any autistic groups or have friends or family that identify as being BAME and autistic, ask them what you can do to help lessen the challenges they are facing. Similarly, with autistic support groups, check-in and make sure that they are discussing this and are doing all they can to support individuals and families who are Black, Asian, Ethnic minorities with autism.
We hope that you now have a greater understanding of the intersectional challenges facing autistic BAME individuals and their families. Now we hope that you understand how you can help address these issues.
Stack Recruitment stands in complete solidarity and we will not be silent. What we do on the surface is important – through social media, hashtags and statements we can help create awareness. What we do beyond this is vital in order to create systemic change of the challenges the black community face globally.
Stack’s mission is to help autistic job seekers find meaningful employment. For more information contact us.
Autistic individuals and their families face far more barriers than others when visiting tourist venues and London is no exception. With its busy streets, sights, sounds, and smells competing for space; London is a sensory overload for autistic tourists. This guide offers advice and links on how to cope and with the challenges facing autistic individuals and their families wanting to visit London.
Having advanced preparation and information can be extremely helpful to autistic individuals as they can prepare themselves for changes before their visit. By informing your autistic family member on the information about the place you are traveling and the challenges that may be facing them. it allows you to manage expectations, reduce anxiety, and assist with planning. Advanced information can be anything from parking to security checks. Other methods of advanced preparation such as accessibility guide, visual tours, or visual stories can be found here.
Travelling throughout London can be super stressful with train delays and tube stations being a sensory overload. However, there are a few things you can do to make these journeys less overwhelming.
- One thing you could try is using apps such as city mapper. The app will plan your route, tell you how much the journey will cost and the times of the upcoming trains for your journey.
- Many of London’s attractions are within walking distance of one and another so when possible avoid taking public transport if its a difficulty that the individual faces. If it is not possible to walk seek other forms of transport such as a bus or an Uber which will be a quieter and more manageable for those with autism.
- Inside tube stations there are help point information machines if you or your family member is struggling looking for staff. TFL (Transport for London) trained and experience staff in working with a range of special needs and disabilities such as autism and will be more than happy to help.
- One struggle that many autistic individuals face is that their disability is invisible and therefore is harder for people to notice. Many autistic individuals have trouble standing on moving transport and therefore need the disabled seats however struggle with social interaction and communication to ask and as they have an invisible disability people do not tend to notice. Therefore carrying a blue badge or a hidden disabilities lanyard and ID card will help people to notice and understand that you require the disabled seats when traveling on transport.
Autistic friendly places to visit
Being autistic doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on fun activities and places to visit. London is an extremely accommodating city with a host of opportunities for families to enjoy such as theatres and museums that are relaxing and friendly for people with neuro-diverse disabilities such as autism. For example, The Lyceum Theatre in London is popular for its relaxed performances of the Lion King. Having collaborated with the National Autistics Society, its staff are well trained and always willing to help. Attractions such as the London Eye is just as accommodating and offer discounted tickets to guests with disabilities. Amongst the friendly places to visit, are cinemas; which now host special screenings for guests with disabilities.
For more information on the best places to visit in London with autistic individuals visit click here
Two useful tools have also been developed that may help you to find more autistic friendly places you may want to visit while in London.
- The first is a map that was created by the London Autism Group which shows locations ranging from advice and support groups to recreation and sports facilities that offer autism-friendly services within London.
- The Second is Euan’s Guide which is a website where you can search for places to visit that meet your needs and requirements for your disability.
I hope that you find the information and the links in the subheadings Advanced preparation, Transport and Autistic friendly places to visit, both useful and helpful in helping to remove the barriers faced by autistic individuals when organising your trip to visit London.
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