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.
For other useful resources visit our blog.
By Anna Everts
This blog discusses autism stereotypes and is written by an autistic writer, for employers.
Most people know what autism is, or at least think they know what autism is. Sadly, a lot of autism stereotypes exist and many people seem to believe them. That’s why it’s time to debunk a couple of them so you can truly understand what being autistic is all about.
1. “Autistic people are anti-social”
When people think about autism, they often picture someone who sits by themselves and doesn’t interact much with others. While some autistics may indeed be anti-social, this definitely doesn’t fly for everyone.
A lot of autistic people can be really social, but on their own terms. Being social is often exhausting for us because it requires a lot of our energy. We have to constantly adapt ourselves to fit in and on top of that we deal with sensory input that can cause a sensory overload. That’s why we often prefer quieter places for social gatherings and smaller groups (but once again, not all of us prefer that).
Most autistic people do enjoy having meaningful conversations with people and hanging out with coworkers and friends. When you hire an autistic person they may need time to settle in. So give us time to get comfortable around you.
2. “Autistic people are socially awkward”
This one is closely related to the one above. The reason autistic people are often thought to be socially awkward is because we react differently to certain situations. For most of us, we had to learn social “rules”. This means that many of the standard social behaviour doesn’t come natural to us.
In situations where we have no experience with how to reply or behave, we can come across as a bit awkward. You can see it as being handed a social manual with only the most common situations. If it’s not in the manual, we may have trouble reacting the right way.
Of course, this isn’t the same for everyone. Some autistics never had any trouble with this to begin with and others have mastered the art of being social. Working from a mental manual also doesn’t mean we’re faking. It just means social situations are more complicated for us than for someone who isn’t autistic.
Stack Recruitment can help both the autistic employee as well as the employer to ease up complicated situations by creating mutual understanding for each other.
3. “Autistic people depend heavily on structure and routine”
This is a common one, because it’s portrayed a lot in media. While it is true that a lot of autistics do enjoy structure and routine, especially as kids, not everyone enjoys it. The reason we do like structure and routine is because it gives us something to not think about. We have to think about everything we do in life because our brains are not wired the way neurotypical brains are. This means that we always have to think about if we’re doing things the right way.
Having routines gives us something we have control over without having to worry about doing it wrong. But this isn’t always having everything colour coded and doing things in the exactly the same order. Sometimes this is just having set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or maybe getting coffee from the same mug every day.
Most of us are at least a tad flexible and our worlds won’t crumble if something in a routine changes. A few of us don’t like routine at all. So while we do enjoy it, our lives don’t depend on it. The best way to figure out what we need is to ask us. If you need help communicating with your autistic employee, Stack can help.
4. “Autistic people are mostly white males”
Most autism representation you’ll find in media is that of a white male, usually a kid or young-adult. This gives the impression that autism is a white and a male thing. Obviously this isn’t the case, because autistics are very diverse!
Autism shows itself in all age groups, all ethnicities and all genders. Autism isn’t something you get, it’s something you’re born with and will also die with. People who are assigned female at birth usually get diagnosed less quickly because most diagnoses are focused on traits present in people who are assigned male at birth. There are differences in traits between those two groups and because of the lack of diagnoses in one group, there appears to be an imbalance. But in reality, anyone can be autistic. You can’t tell from just looking at them.
5. “Autistic people are either high-functioning or low-functioning”
A lot of neurotypical people have this idea that autism is either very noticeable, which they call low-functioning, or barely, which they call high-functioning. So basically what they’re saying is that some people are more autistic than others.
Sure, some people experience greater struggles, but that doesn’t mean they’re more autistic. Functioning labels are actually harmful because they’re rating our ability to be a productive human being. People classified as “low-functioning” are often seen as less productive to society and thus less worthy of human rights. That’s really problematic and that’s why most of us don’t like the functioning labels.
Autism is a spectrum and it’s not a linear one. It’s a circle full of traits and everyone’s circle looks different. You can’t tell from just looking at someone that they’re autistic. Some people are great at masking (appearing neurotypical) but actually struggle with a lot of things.
Our worth is not determined by how well we can appear to be neurotypical. We are not worth less because we’re autistic. If you know one of us, you know one of us, because one autistic person doesn’t represent the entire group. So get to know us! We’ll surprise you with our versatility and our unique skills. If you want to hire us, Stack Recruitment can help.
6. “Autistic people are just good at technical jobs”
Ever since it became known that autistics are popular amongst IT companies, people assumed that autistics in general are just good at coding and other technical jobs.
But as mentioned before, we’re a diverse group. That means we have different interests and aren’t all good at technical tasks. We can do any job we like. Those can range from marketing to security and from working for a call-centre to being a gardener.
Do you have an interesting job for us? Contact Stack Recruitment to help you find the right match.
Autism is far more common than most people realise. In the UK alone, there are over 700,000 autistic individuals, which is a little more than 1 out of every 100 people.
Autistic individuals can be exceptionally talented and become invaluable assets to any business, but there still remains a stigma attached to employing autistic people. In fact, statistics show that over 60% of autistic adults are unemployed.
Employers have a lot to gain by understanding that making their workplaces ‘autism friendly’ isn’t about ticking boxes and meeting CSR objectives, its about seeking out and experiencing the talent of fantastic individuals.
This blog aims to help employers understand more about autism and the benefits autistic individuals can bring to their workplace.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the way individuals interact and communicate with the world around them. It affects different individuals to varying degrees, meaning that some individuals may need more support than others.
People on the autistic spectrum often have difficulty with social interaction, engagement and communication. This includes things like establishing relationships and reciprocating verbal and nonverbal communication (such as body language), can prove difficult.
Some autistic individuals may struggle with abstract thinking, such as sequencing, organising and planning ahead. For this reason, its common for many autistic individuals to enjoy having a routine and familiarity – a trait that can prove particularly valuable for employers.
What are the benefits of employing an autistic individual?
Fantastic problem-solving abilities
Autistic people are neuro-diverse, which means their brains work differently and can process and respond to information differently than a neuro-typical individual. Autistic traits are very useful for problem solving tasks, as it means they consider a broader range of possibilities and are less likely to make assumptions. This means autistic people can bring unique perspectives and solve problems differently within a workplace.
They can do any job
There are a lot of myths and stereotypes about the types of jobs that are and aren’t suitable for autistic people. A common stereotype is that they are best suited to science and technology roles. Although this can be true, the reality is that autistic people come from all walks of life and backgrounds and have a huge range of skills and passions.
Unique skill sets
Autistic people have a unique set of skills that can really benefit businesses. These include high attention to detail, out of the box thinking and accuracy to name a few.
Research suggests that autistic employees were as much as 140% more productive than their neuro-typical colleagues. This is because autistic individuals have an increased ability to focus on certain tasks and can concentrate for an extended period of time.
Disruption and innovation
Employing autistic individuals and building an inclusive workforce has been shown to significantly benefit businesses, as it disrupts the status quo and drives innovation forward. This is because the different experiences, minds and thoughts allows businesses to improve processes and constantly think of better ways to do things.
Increased business performance
Research suggests that more diverse companies experience 19% higher revenues than there non-diverse counterparts due to innovation. This shows that diversity isn’t just a metric to strive for, but instead an integral part of a 21st century business.
The power of millenials
By 2025, it is said that over 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials. This means that the majority of business decisions will be made by this group. In a 2016 survey, 47% of millennials said they are actively looking for diversity and inclusion when looking for jobs.
There are so many benefits of employing autistic individuals. This blog has named just a few of those. If you’re thinking about employing autistic individuals and experiencing the benefits mentioned above, chat to us!
This week’s blog gives you 10 books you can read to keep you occupied during lockdown. We’ve made a list of the best books written by autistic writers, what they’re about and where you can buy them. As well as this, we’ve included links to the shops that are still delivering during lockdown, to ensure you can keep yourself safe.
1. The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide by Siena Castellon
What is it about?
This book is the ultimate advice guide for autistic teenage girls, written by the award winning autistic teen campaigner, Siena Castellon. It contains tips and advice relating to real-life issues on themes such as friendships, dating, mental health and bullying to help you overcome a range of challenges you may face. The book aims to give you the power to embrace who you are, reminding you that even at the toughest moments, you are never alone.
Aside from this, this is a great book to better understand neuro-diversity and autism. It’s easy to read, contains lots of information and even comic strips which help explains things better.
Where can I buy it?
2. Odd Girl Out: An Autistic Woman in a Neuro-typical World by Laura E James
What is it about?
Laura James found out that she was autistic as an adult, after she had forged a career for herself, married twice and raised four children. This book tracks the year of Laura’s life after she receives a definitive diagnosis from her doctor, as she learns that ‘different’ doesn’t need to mean ‘less’ and how there is a place for all of us, and it’s never too late to find it.
Laura draws on her professional and personal experiences and reflects on her life in the light of her diagnosis, which for her explains some of her differences; why, as a child, she felt happier spinning in circles than standing still and why she has always found it difficult to work in places with a lot of ambient noise.
Although this is a personal story, the book has a wider focus too, exploring reasons for the lower rate of diagnosed autism in women and a wide range of topics including eating disorders and autism, marriage and motherhood.
Where can I buy it?
3. The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
What is it about?
In this fascinating and highly readable book, Temple Grandin offers her own experience as an autistic person alongside remarkable new discoveries about the autistic brain, as well as genetic research.
She also highlights long-ignored sensory problems as well as the need to treat autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting of all, she argues that raising and educating children on the autistic spectrum needs to be less about focusing on their weaknesses, and more about fostering their unique contributions.
Where can I buy it?
4. The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook for Autistic Teens and Tweens by Yenn Purkis
What is it about?
This book explores what it feels like to be a young person on the autism spectrum and looks at all the brilliant things people on the autism spectrum can do.
It’s full of insights about being awesome and autistic, this book celebrates the strengths of understanding the world in a different way. It looks at all the reasons being you and thinking differently can be totally awesome!
It also has tips for managing tricky situations such as meltdowns, sensory differences and anxiety. It includes fun activities and diary pages where you can write your thoughts and feelings to help you concentrate on your strengths and work on your challenges.
This book helps you develop the confidence to be who you are and help you live life with as little stress and anxiety as possible.
Where can I buy it?
5. The Electricity of Every Living Thing: A Woman’s Walk in the Wild to Find Her Way Home by Katherine May
In August 2015, Katherine May set out to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path. She wanted to understand why she had stopped coping with everyday life; why motherhood had been so overwhelming and isolating, and why the world felt full of inundation and expectations she can’t meet. Setting her feet down on the rugged and difficult path by the sea, the answer begins to unfold. It’s a chance encounter with a voice on the radio that sparks a realisation that she has Asperger’s Syndrome.
The Electricity of Every Living Thing tells the story of the year in which Katherine comes to terms with her diagnosis. It leads to a re-evaluation of her life so far – a kinder one, which finally allows her to be different rather than simply awkward, arrogant or unfeeling. The physical and psychological journeys become inextricably entwined, and as Katherine finds her way across the untameable coast, she also finds the way to herself.
Where can I buy it?
6. Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad?
What is it about?
Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? is a candid view of life and love through the eyes of an autistic adult—who went from being a nonverbal and aggressive child to a hard working and responsible father to a non-autistic son.
Growing up autistic, Jude Morrow faced immense challenges and marginalization, but he was able to successfully—though not without difficulty—finish university and transition into a successful career and eventually parenthood.
Those with autism can have difficulty understanding the world around them and can find it hard to find their voice, but in this poignant and honest memoir, Jude defiantly uses his found voice to break down the misconceptions and societal beliefs surrounding autism, bringing hope to all who live with autism as well as those who care for someone on the spectrum.
Jude views his autism as a gift to be shared, not a burden to be pitied, and as he demonstrates through his honest recollections and observations, autistic people’s lives can be every bit as happy and fulfilling as those not on the spectrum.
Where can I buy it?
7. Look Me in the Eyes: My Life with Aspergers by John Elder Robison
What is it about?
From the time he was three or four years old, John Elder Robison realised that he was different from other people. He was unable to make eye contact or connect with other children, and by the time he was a teenager his odd habits – an inclination to blurt out non-sequiturs, obsessively dismantle radios or dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them) – had earned him the label ‘social deviant’. It didn’t help that his mother conversed with light fixtures and his father spent evenings pickling himself in sherry.
Look Me in the Eye is his story of growing up with Asperger’s syndrome – a form of autism – at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. Along the way it also tells the story of two brothers born eight years apart yet devoted to each other: the author and his younger brother Chris, who would grow up to become bestselling author Augusten Burroughs.
This book is a rare fusion of inspiration, dark comedy and insight into the workings of the human mind. For someone who has struggled all his life to connect with other people, Robison proves to be an extraordinary storyteller.
Where can I buy it?
8. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: An Autism Spectrum Guide to the Confusing World of Idioms, Metaphors and Everyday Expressions by Michael Barton
What is it about?
The English language can be extremely confusing and illogical, especially for people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who interpret meaning in a very literal way. Why should an announcement that cats and dogs are falling from the sky indicate heavy rain? And what have chickens got to do with being a coward?
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs is a witty and stylish insight into the mind of someone with an ASD. It beautifully illustrates why people with ASDs have problems understanding common phrases and idioms that others accept unquestioningly as part of everyday speech.
The quirky drawings will entertain and inspire those on the spectrum, giving them the confidence to recognise figures of speech, feel less alienated and even use idioms themselves.
The drawings will form instantly memorable references for those with ASDs to recall whenever they need to and will be helpful for anyone curious to understand the ASD way of thinking. They will enable people on the spectrum and their friends, families, teachers and colleagues to better understand and communicate with each other.
Where can I buy it?
9. Thinking in Pictures: My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin
What is it about?
The idea that some people think differently, though no less humanly, is explored in this inspiring book. Temple Grandin is a gifted and successful animal scientist, and she is autistic.
Here she tells us what it was like to grow up perceiving the world in an entirely concrete and visual way – somewhat akin to how animals think, she believes – and how it feels now. Through her finely observed understanding of the workings of her mind, she gives us an invaluable insight into autism and its challenges.
Where can I buy it?
10. The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida
What is it about?
Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump.
He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world – other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with autism do possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.
David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki’s book so that it might help others dealing with autism and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.
The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki’s words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.
Where can I buy it?
The aim of my blog is to support people on the autistic spectrum to adapt to living in quarantine during the corona virus pandemic and to share my experiences and to give some pointers. This blog is by an autistic writer, for autistic individuals.
My mum had been sent home from her place of work because she started coughing continuously. She was advised by the doctor over the telephone to self isolate.
A day later I started to feel muscle pains. My anxiety which is always under the surface, kicked in, and I decided to isolate at home too.
My daily News viewing had increased dramatically. I would watch the headlines every hour to catch constant updates about the coronavirus which wasn’t helping my situation, it was just making me more paranoid and anxious. It was also making me going onto the internet and self diagnose.
Lack of routine and household tension:
Being in isolation has not been easy for me to adjust to. I am not working at the moment because my workplace has temporarily closed due to the lockdown.
My regular meals of brown rice, brown pasta, canned tuna, and chicken that I eat daily are not in the house so a lot of familiarity has been lost.
This has also led to a lot of problems in my home. My mum does not understand autism, is in denial about me being on the spectrum, and doesn’t understand how a change of routine can affect people on the spectrum. It’s caused a lot of friction.
My already difficult social interactions with people was made worse. After I came out of self Isolation I needed to go to the shop to buy some food for the house.
Whenever I encountered a person on my journey I would cross to the other side of the road. If I saw somebody approaching me, frightened they would cough at me, I would run away.
Once inside the shop I would not walk down the aisle until I requested a staff member to move out of it so I could pick up my food. It was even worse at the checkout when I kept looking at the lady serving me with an anxious expression on my face. It was my over anxiety and the fear of someone coughing in my direction.
How you can adapt and clear your mind:
The first thing that I started to do was exercise at home. I have an exercise bike in my room so I did that for 45 mins every day when I woke up in the morning.
One thing that you can do to adapt is to go for a daily walk. If you have anxieties when you are out then try going for a walk around the block a few times. Alternatively, try following some workout routines online.
Less over analysing:
If you are worried about encountering every day people whilst out make sure you keep to the 2 metre rule. Alternatively you can wear a face mask while out. It’s reassuring and keeps you at ease.
In times of quarantine it’s best to keep busy so I thought I’d work on my genealogy and my family tree. But you can do other things that you find of interest to you, such as puzzles, reading your favourite books or comics.
Turn off the news:
Instead of watching the news I watched some of my favourite sci-fi films. So you can try turning on Netflix and catching up with your favourite shows, or play some of your favourite computer games to pass the time and keep you occupied
To ease tensions at home with my mum I would watch some of her favourite comedy shows with her. I’d enquire about her day, just get involved with her a little bit. What you can do is play board games together, watch some of your favourite shows together or just sit down and talk about your hobbies.
I had to adapt the daily foods that I ate. Instead of brown pasta I changed over to white pasta. As I like cheese I put lots of cheese on the pasta to make It suit more to my tastes. Instead of canned tuna I made cheese or beef sandwiches instead. Experiment with beef or cheese. Look for other alternatives. Tasting new foods can be fun.
It’s a difficult time for people on the spectrum. I hope that by reading this blog it can help you to understand that although change can be very difficult there is ways we can alleviate and adapt to our surroundings and keep our selves safe and healthy.
For more similar stories visit our blog.
By Anna Everts
This blog discusses how you can communicate your needs as an autistic adult within your job and gives you recommendations on how to start the conversation with your manager and colleagues. This blog is written by an autistic writer, for autistic job-seekers.
For a lot of people, working 9-5 is the norm, and you will likely be spending a lot of time within your workplace with your colleagues. This means that it’s essential for the workplace to be a place where you feel appreciated and understood. But the latter poses a problem for many autistic individuals. Being misunderstood is a common problem that autistics face and it can be really frustrating.
Frustrating as it may be, it’s not an unsolvable problem. By using clear communication towards your employer and your co-workers, it’s possible to create an environment where everyone’s needs are met.
But how do you start such a conversation? What can you expect? Here’s a short guide on how to best communicate your needs.
1. Make a plan
If you want the conversation with your employer and/or your co-workers to go smoothly, you need to know what you are going to say to them. It’s important to create a list with the topics you want to discuss. Is your workplace too noisy and are you looking for somewhere more quiet?
Write down why the noise bothers you, what effects it has on you and your work, what you would like to change about the situation and what the outcome would be.
“My autism causes me to be very sensitive to sounds. In the workplace I’ve found myself being distracted by the sounds of people using their keyboard or calling a client. It often becomes overwhelming at the end of the day.
This negatively impacts my work and that’s very unfortunate. That’s why I want to start wearing noise-cancelling headphones to prevent a sensory overload. That way I can do my job effectively.“
“Recently I’ve noticed some friction between me and my colleagues. I’m not able to execute my tasks correctly because I feel like I’m missing information. I struggle explaining this to my colleagues and I don’t want to take up too much of their time by asking a lot of questions every time.
That’s why I suggest making a briefing format that answers all questions at once. I’m more than willing to create this format. That way colleagues can simply fill in the briefing document and mail it to me at the beginning of a task. This prevents having to ask them about the missing information and this saves both parties a lot of time.“
For every problem you face you should write down a possible solution. If you can’t find one, ask your employer or co-workers to think of some solutions with you. The important thing is that you’re showing that you’re taking an effort to solve this. Showing initiative is key.
You can use this plan to make notes for your conversation or actually use it as a script. Do what works best for you and keep in mind that people won’t be able to help you if they don’t know what the problem is. That’s why you need to properly explain the problem. If you struggle putting words on paper, ask someone to help you. Stack Recruitment is able to help you with this and is more than happy to do so!
2. Plan the conversation
Sometimes it’s difficult to pick the right moment to plan a conversation. Especially a conversation like this can be nerve-wracking and therefore takes some courage. It can be hard to read the other person. Are they busy? Are they in the right mood for this?
Once you’ve gathered your nerve, pick a moment to approach the person you want to have a conversation with. When you do this, make sure to check if they have time. If their schedule is full, they might not have time for you or won’t give you the time you need to explain your situation. That’s why you should ask the person in question (something along the lines of) the following:
“There’s something I’d like to discuss with you and it might take up some time. Can we schedule a moment for this conversation?”
By saying this, you inform the other person about your need for a conversation while also giving them time to process it and pick a moment that works for them as well. It ensures that both parties go into the conversation prepared.
If you need help preparing the conversation, Stack offers guidance and advice. That way you’ll be ensured that you’re ready for this big step. We’ll help you find the right people for the conversation and help you with the steps that follow.
3. Have the conversation
Probably the most scary part of all this is the conversation itself. There’s no way of knowing the outcome beforehand and that can be enough to make anyone nervous. So as you’re going into the meeting, keep your notes close and make sure you’ve written down everything you want to say.
Listen to the other person and make sure you show you understand. At the end of the conversation both sides need to be aware of what the other person’s thoughts are about the issue. That’s why it’s important to both communicate clearly and listen carefully.
If you feel like you’re not being listened to, or you feel like you’re being misunderstood, say so. This conversation is meant to help you, not make things worse. Stay polite and try to stay calm. It’s the only way to make sure the conversation goes smoothly.
If you still feel like nothing has changed at the end of the conversation, see if you can talk to someone else, or have someone be with you during the next conversation. Sometimes other people can explain the issue more clearly. There’s no shame in asking for help. Stack Recruitment can help you make this difficult conversation easier. We offer support and guidance throughout the entire process.
After you’ve had the conversation and things have been set in motion to solve the issue, you need to re-evaluate the situation. How are things going now? Are you still facing the same issues? Or is there still room for improvement?
It’s a good idea to schedule another meeting with your employer or co-worker, depending on who you had the first conversation with, and re-evaluate the situation together. Working with others requires teamwork and team effort. That means both parties need to put in the work to make it a success. If you need help re-evaluating or planning another conversation, don’t be afraid to reach out to us!
If you find yourself struggling with this process or are unsure how to start planning, feel free to contact us. Here at Stack are ready for you to support you and help you get the guidance you need. We’re here for you from step one all the way to step four, and even beyond that.
If you’re looking for a job, its a big thing. It takes time, effort and concentration. Especially if you’re an autistic job-seeker, the effect of this pandemic can have a huge impact and make the whole process scary. We don’t know whats going to happen and the situation changes every day. This poses the question: should you continue your job search? This blog aims to answer this question and support you during your journey!
Yes – Job interviews are being done remotely:
The recent news state that human contact should be kept to a minimum. For this reason, many companies are turning to video call to keep their recruitment processes running.
This can really benefit autistic job-seekers, as you can speak to hiring managers from a comfortable environment, which may reduce some of the anxiety associated with the interview setting. Here are some really good tips on preparing for a virtual interview.
As a jobs board and recruitment agency, we have always focused on flexibility and ensuring everything can be kept virtual, to keep our service accessible for everyone. This is why we are still running our job coaching service virtually, to continuously support our job-seekers.
Yes – More remote opportunities:
More and more companies are choosing to work from home. This is emphasising the need to create a strong, remote workforce both now and in the future.
Research suggests that over the next year, the importance of a remote workforce will significantly increase. This should favour the autistic community, as more opportunities should offer flexible, home working opportunities, making employment more accessible for neuro-diverse employees.
However there will be delays to the recruitment process, as we move from office working to home working, so try and be patient with your search. If you need any extra support, contact us.
Yes – Not every industry will suffer:
Despite the economy being unstable right now, there are industries that will be able to get through this hard time. These include, nonprofits, governmental organisations, cleaners, medical practices and delivery services to name a few.
Some industries and companies may be requiring extra employees and its important to keep an eye out for emerging trends, as they could be great opportunities.
No – The uncertainty:
It is clear the Coronavirus is causing significant levels of uncertainty for employers. Some employers are putting off hiring completely, which will in effect slow down hiring.
On the other hand, this can mean employers may have previously posted a job, but are taking their time to sort out their recruitment processes before making big decisions.
If you’re an autistic job-seeker this could make you feel anxious and unsure about where you’re at. It is so important to put your health a priority and keep yourself safe.
Things you can do instead:
Work on your skills:
Now is a fantastic time to learn new skills. There are lots of free courses, youtube videos and webinars out there to help you learn. Examples of websites to use include: Open University, Coursera, Teachable and Skillshare.
If you want some time away from your computer screen, you could also develop your interests, such as a sport, an art form, website development, coding, music or dance! Remember, interests are a great way to show employers who you are as a person and show them what interests you!
Develop your CV:
Your CV is one of the key tools that helps an employer understand who you are and what experience you have. On average, an employer spends approximately 30 seconds reviewing each CV when someone applies for a role. This is why its so important to have it updated and presentable.
If you need extra support or are not sure where to start, contact Stack and we can help you develop your CV and provide valuable feedback.
Get a Linkedin profile:
If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile, great! If not, its a really useful tool to have to not only search for jobs, but connect with employers and professionals.
Its very easy to set up, and the search for jobs feature is simple to use. You can even select specific filters, such as distance away from where you live, entry level roles, job types and industry.
Send your CV to Stack Recruitment
Despite all this happening, we are fully operational. If you are an autistic job-seeker, we will help you start your job search through 1-1 virtual weekly meetings.
However, we understand that some people communicate differently, so we are also able to help through emails, phone calls or WhatsApp!
Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safe say and stay positive!
By Anna Everts
This blog discusses the pros and cons of disclosing autism during a job interview. This blog is written for autistic people, by an autistic person with experience in the subject matter.
So, you’ve landed a job interview. Great! But now there probably are a million questions going through your mind; “What questions will they ask?”, “What should I wear?”, “What information do I want from them?”, and most importantly “Do I inform them about my autism?”.
For most autistic people the latter is a question they ponder about the longest. It’s not surprising, really. It’s an important question that could, unfortunately, affect the outcome of the interview. But for every reason to stay quiet about it, there is also a good reason to inform your possible future employer. Here are all the pros and cons listed for you, so you can make a decision that fits your situation.
Why you should bring up your autism during a job interview
1. Its a part of you
Autism is a part of you and it always will be. Whether or not you like it, it is most likely going to affect the way you interact with colleagues, supervisors and even clients. And that’s okay. Everyone deals with people differently, even those without autism. Some people loathe making phone calls, are a little too hyper around clients, or constantly disagree with their co-workers. No one handles social interactions the same way.
Of course for an autistic person social interactions are often far more difficult, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to work with. When someone hires you, they hire all of you. That includes your autism. So if someone wouldn’t want you because you’re autistic, you should ask yourself whether or not you want to work there. There will be enough other places that are in fact happy to explore your unique qualities and can give you what you need to be a functioning member of the team.
Pro: Your openness and honesty might be seen as a plus. Also you’ll know if the company is biased or not.
Con: The employer might be thinking in negative stereotypes. However Stack focuses on partnering with inclusive employers. This means that our employers understand autism and know how to support an autistic employee.
2. It prevents unwanted surprises
Sometimes us autistics need a little more help than others; a more thorough briefing, extra time to work on a task, or even a buddy who’s always ready to answer our questions. If you need these things to function properly in a workplace, it’s best to be open about it upfront. If you don’t, your employer will hire you with expectations you can’t meet and then both parties will be disappointed.
When you clearly state what you need to be a productive part of the team and also provide a solution for those needs, an employer will see that you are flexible and willing to meet them halfway into accommodating to your needs. And that might just earn you those extra points you need to get hired!
Pro: It prevents stress and miscommunication on both sides.
Con: Some employers might not be willing to meet you halfway. However, Stack Recruitment can assist in getting the employer to better understand your situation. This may just turn them around!
3. It provides an opportunity to highlight your unique skills
Your autism makes you unique. That also means you have qualities that non-autistics don’t have. You can use these qualities to your advantage. For example, during an interview you can tell an employer something along the lines of the following sentence:
“I have autism, which means that I’m really good at picking up on details. This enables me to execute a job with great precision.”
By presenting your autism in a positive light, the employer will think of the positive aspects first before making any assumptions about you. Of course you can mention any skill you think is valuable. Applying for the creative sector? Tell them about how creative autistic people are! Or does your autism make you a good problem solver? Tell them about that! Take some time to make a list with your unique skills and mention them during the interview. That way there’s less room for negative stereotypes.
Pro: It changes the perspective the employer might have on autism.
Con: Employers may still worry about supporting an autistic employee. However there are plenty of organisations and articles out there where they can gain useful advice and help. They just may need to be directed.
Why it might be better not to mention your autism
1. People are prejudiced
This is the sad truth. Many people are uninformed about what autism actually is and most of their knowledge about autism comes from extreme stereotypes. Of course, people can learn, but that doesn’t mean that they will. For this reason it might be better to not tell an employer that you’re autistic. Especially if you really need a job and cannot use another rejection, staying quiet about it might be the best way to go.
Furthermore, if you’ve noticed that people only tend to see your autism and not the rest of you, it might also be a good idea to keep quiet. You can always tell them later. In fact, you can choose not to tell them at first, let them get to know you, and then bring up your autism after a week on the job. That way your first impression isn’t tied to your autism.
Pro: The employer can get to know you without making false assumptions about you.
Con: By not telling the employer that you’re autistic, they won’t be able to provide the extra tools or help you might need. If you do run into problems, Stack can help you sort these out with your employer.
2. Your autism doesn’t affect the qualities needed for the job
Let’s say you struggle with talking to people on the phone or face to face, but talking to someone via text is not an issue at all. And let’s say in this case you’re applying for the webcare part of a servicecenter. You won’t have to talk to people face to face or assist them over the phone, so what’s the issue?
This is just one example of a case in which it might not be needed to mention your autism. If you feel your autism won’t be in the way of the tasks you need to perform at the job you’re applying for, then why bring it up? You don’t always have to tell people that you’re autistic if there’s no reason for them to know. Of course, you can still choose to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable keeping it quiet. It’s all a matter of what you think is best.
Pro: Not mentioning it when it isn’t needed will prevent prejudice.
Con: If problems do arise, you might still have to bring up your autism. But since you’ve already proven your worth, you have to worry less about facing prejudice. Your employer knows what you can do!
Whether or not you should bring up your autism during a job interview completely depends on your own situation. In the end you should do what feels best for you. If you’re very worried about the reaction of the employer and it’s eating you up inside, then don’t sweat it. Focus on the interview itself and don’t mention it just yet.
If you just want to be sure you’re accepted for who you are and don’t mind taking the risk, then go ahead and tell them! Make your own list of pros and cons so you can come to a conclusion that works for you. But no matter what you do, know that you have value. You can bring qualities to the table that others might not have. So never settle for something where your efforts aren’t appreciated.
For more useful tips visit our blog.
As part of our new ‘love what you do’ blog series we are interviewing autistic adults that love their jobs.
This week we have the fantastic Maxwell, who works as a Marketing Executive.
Maxwell has provided a fantastic insight into the world of marketing and has given us some brilliant advice on finding and searching for jobs.
Thank you Maxwell!
1.Hi Maxwell, whats your job and what do you do on a day to day basis?
“My Job Title is Marketing/Content Executive at the Autism Directory and I have been here for 1 year and a half, having moved from Northern Ireland to Cardiff in September 2018.
A typical day involves checking social media, creating content and visuals using my graphic design skills, video editing skills and taking part in general marketing. I also like to research and come up with content ideas for social media.”
2.What do you love about your job?
“I love working with other people on the autistic spectrum; at the Autism Directory over 70% of staff are autistic. This means I work in an understanding environment with people who also share a passion for helping others through challenges we have ourselves faced.
This can be anything from applying to Personal Independence Payment to employment experiences. Saying that, we also have a good laugh in the office and I have made some very good friends.”
3.Why did you want to start a career in marketing?
“I wanted to start a career in marketing as I enjoy using my creative skills and creating connections with people, to tell stories.
I also have enjoyed using my copywriting skills in the past to tell both my autism story through blogging/online articles and working with other creatives to change people’s perceptions.
I would love to get a marketing or creative job at organisations like Scope or Amnesty International in the future, to help fight for more positive change and change perceptions.”
4.After you made this decision, what did you do?
“After doing a work experience placement at BBC Cymru through Remploy due to my interest in current affairs, one of my first roles in marketing was a Campaigns Assistant at NUS Wales to help encourage young people and students to register to vote for the 2016 Assembly Elections. My interest in politics and current affairs was one of the reasons why I applied for this role.
Though the interview for this role went well and I was able to communicate well, interviews in general, have always been something I have found hard. It takes a little bit of time our me to build up my confidence before an interview and I am often still very nervous, so being rejected form roles can knock my confidence quite a lot.”
5.How do you think being autistic has impacted you in your marketing career?
“I think that there are some negatives of being autistic within marketing. Sometimes people in marketing can have a pre-conception, either intentionally or unintentionally, that I might not be able to do certain things or roles, as I would find communication hard, but this also makes me very determined to succeed and I am able to think differently.
By adopting different ways to communicate, this can actually benefit everyone in an organisation and how we reflect who we are communicating with.”
6.Stereotypically, autistic individuals aren’t commonly associated with careers in the creative industry. How would you challenge this stereotype?
“I would challenge such stereotypes, as I have done through my work with The Future Is ND, by arguing that not only can autistic people be very creative but that we are human too, and like everyone else, not every autistic person is the same.
We can be sociable and work as part of a creative team in the right environment.”
7.What has been your best moment within your career so far?
“One of my best moments in my career so far has been getting an article published in The Huffington Post about Mental Health and Autism.
I have also written articles for City AM and enjoyed working at BBC Cymru, where I got a researcher credit on an episode of the Week In Week Out investigative programme.”
8.After a long day at work, what do you like to do?
“I am very interested in films, particularly ones that have something to say about society, but I also enjoy the odd cheesy or scary horror film! I sometimes write and recently started learning salsa dancing to build my social confidence.”
9.What do you think is the most important thing to consider when finding a job that you love?
“One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that it is easy to put pressure on yourself, but it is important to remember that everyone is different and we all take different paths. I still often find it very hard to compare myself to other people but I overcome this by focusing on the positives of where I work and the impact we make as a team.”
10.What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers who haven’t yet decided what career path to take?
“Don’t put pressure on yourself to find the perfect career choice straight away, it is ok to take time!”
11.What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers in regards to the recruitment process?
“In regards to advice about recruitment processes, I would say that be honest about your autism is the best approach. There will always be employers who have negative pre-conceptions but there also those who are more positive and open-minded.
Remember, your greatest strength is what makes you unique and you should never be ashamed of who you are!”
For more similar stories visit our blog.
This is a strange, turbulent time for everyone, however particularly strange if you are autistic. This blog is a handy guide and some recommendations to help support autistic individuals, whether you are a parent/carer/friend or family member.
State the facts
Only state clear objective facts about the virus. Don’t engage or let them hear speculation. They will struggle to separate ‘what if’s’ from what is really happening. Try to answer their questions without giving unnecessary details that may alarm them.
There are some brilliant articles online about the facts, including this one from the NHS. A lot of the newspapers and media outlets speculate which can often make it harder to understand or decide what to believe in.
Over the past week there has been a lot in the news about stockpiling, and many items are running out in the supermarkets. Due the nature of whats happening, if you know an autistic individual that only eats certain foods its probably good to think about buying a few extras to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy.
Similarly, if someone is worried about the prevalence of the virus ask if they need anything from the supermarket. Going to busy places to even do basic things like the supermarket shop can be very worrying, especially as they are getting extremely chaotic.
Offices and schools around the world are closing, creating large disruptions to every day life. This can be a big change for autistic people may be moving to a prolonged school holiday or even a working from home situation.
Now is a great time to be talking about routines, and how autistic individuals can keep their routine as normal as possible. You can support people to continuously set their alarms, have the same meal times and interact with the same people on a daily basis. For example, if there is an office closure you can encourage someone to have a short phone call with their manager every day to keep life as routine as possible.
Mental health matters
A lot of events, gyms, cinemas and shops are limiting their hours so its really important to keep yourself active and support everyones mental health and do things we enjoy!
If you or someone you know is usually a gym goer, try doing some home workouts on youtube. Not only will you be spending some time together, but also keeping yourself moving! Other good things to do are putting a good film on or trying some home cooking.
Let them try their own coping mechanisms
Autistic individuals are pretty good at finding ways to cope. Someone has piled pillows outside his door to ‘stop the virus’. Will it in anyway help? No. Does it make him feel safe? Yes. Within reason let individuals cope how they need to.
At the end of the day we are all human and have different ways of dealing with things. We all can do our bit to support others during this situation.
If you or someone else needs additional support:
Further advice can be found on the NHS website
The latest advice from the government can be found here
Mind has a fantastic resource regarding the virus, your health and well being.
The department of education have set up a helpline to answer any questions related to education:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
And finally, if you need someone to talk to confidentially, feel free to give us an email at email@example.com and we will do our best to direct you to additional support if needs be.
For more useful tips visit our blog.
End of content
No more pages to load