Employers are changing attitudes and procedures for autistic employees

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/03/employers-are-changing-attitudes-and-procedures-for-autistic-employees.html


Autism isn’t a disorder, it’s a condition. The first few seconds of that video is already so frustrating.

Also, it’s the inflexibility from neurotupical people which makes life difficult for Autistic people. Just because a person exists outside their versions of a standard model doesn’t mean there’s actually a problem with that person.


Yes! I feel the same way. This is meant to be positive hooray for inclusivity story. So many ASD adults struggle to find employment and this leadd to a lot of hardship in this country. Like you say, it really it has little to do with ability, and so much to do with the snap judgement of NT people in positions of power. But I cringe so hard when they talk about the value of ASD employees. Could they at least pretend to act like they view their employees as humans?


I would argue it’s not a condition, but a trait. I am not a fan of disease models of neurodiversity.


If the needle could be moved to “trait” instead, that would be wonderful.


I don’t know how they think it comes across when they talk about the value of an Autistic employee, but what I hear is that employers are learning how to utilize an autistic person’s labor for profit.

A person’s economic output does not correlate with how valuable they are for their family and community. That being said, employers should adopt standards that benefit a good working environment for Autistic people. NT’s will likely benefit and flourish in such environments too. They’re already starting to see this when classrooms adjust in this manner.


The lucky few. Rest of us live in the edges underemployed in this ever worsening capitalist neoliberal Hell.

I think ASD is a disease and would like to cured.


Well, I was kind of hoping for news about a more friendly work environment than a cube farm, and what I got was news about changing hiring procedures and having a quiet room for time-outs, but I guess it’s a start.

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I know the feeling, yet I can tell you know it more, and I truly wish that wasn’t the case for you. I have a good idea the sort of things you’ve had to deal with for far too long that would cause you to feel this way.

Even though I know there’s nothing I can say that will make anything better, I still have to tell you that you are a wonderful person. I say that with full understanding that there are many challenges you have to persevere through on a daily basis, which might leave you not seeing yourself in such a way.

As someone who is Autistic, and is raising a child who is also Autistic (and has to face more difficulties than what I remember experiencing), I hope you understand that when I say you are a wonderful person it’s not out of some naive sense. I know it because I marvel at how wonderful my child is, even though he doesn’t always see it as some days can be exceptionally difficult. I also had to finally realize it with myself, which was not a simple thing to do. So, if the likes of me is a wonderful person, I know without a doubt you are too.

I know it can be a rough truth to deal with, but you’re now stuck knowing it none the less.


Over here in the german speaking area we have a guy who made a second career out of speeches that dive a lot into those differences in mindsets of autistic employees and neurotypical ones in regards to innovation. the fun thing is that he is not even aware about it. He calls it cats vs. dogs. The funny thing is that he isn’t even aware about the neuro aspect of it (or that he himself is easily observed as autistic for those who know it), he instead uses the outdated Meyers Briggs as reference. ( Gunter Dueck for anyone who wants to google him )

I myself am most definitely ADHD, so already on the neurodiverse spectrum, but starting to become aware that I might fully qualify for an autism diagnosis. What threw me of was Baron Cohen with his stupid male brain theory that gets so much about it wrong.

Having said that I took quite an interest in my personal problems with executive functioning and the workplace in extension. So I also found another interesting source that may clarify why it is more than a good idea to integrate autistic optimized into the workplace. https://autcollab.org/ It is, in my opinion though a bit too lenient with our neurodiverse folk. Painting us as angels by default when I can clearly see that a lot of what is known as toxic fandom is autistic special interest and being territorial about it or even worse, I see a lot of male autists fall into the traps of incelism.

Semi-off-topic. Just an autism anecdote.

I am a 65-year-old woman and I believe an autism diagnosis would explain many of the communication issues I’ve always had. I keep reading about women who get adult diagnoses (often when their children are diagnosed), and they find it life-changing.

I can’t get either my primary care doctor* or my therapist to recommend testing. They say, “what difference does it make at your age?” Answer: see previous paragraph.

  • To be accurate, my clinic started bringing in a psychiatrist once a month. He met with me for an hour, diagnosed depression and said, dismissively, “oh it’s trendy now for everyone to think they have Asperger’s.” (How many years has it been since that name has been deprecated?) I guess I started the trend 35 years ago.

I just re-read my post and decided that I am going to make an increasingly larger fuss until I get tested. Maybe it will help if I tell them, truthfully, that I “retired” at 60 because of the pain of being misunderstood in workplaces. “Ow! Ow! OW! Your job is to help me!”


That psychiatrist is a jerk. Keep in mind a diagnosis is merely the opinion of one (hopefully well-trained) individual. A diagnosis of “nope” is not necessarily correct, and a “yep” is likewise just an opinion. It’s not as if there is a blood test or anything. And yes, the experience of autism can unsurprisingly result in depression. If information about autism is helpful for you, then it is helpful. Appreciate who you are, because you are probably a whole lot better than you think. Society is just rough on autistic people, and autism is a very, very complicated subject.

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@AndreaJames I no longer use “High Functioning” and “Low Functioning” labels. It is an external metric and does not accurately reflect the individuality of the ways a person might require support in the workplace or the home. It is also dehumanizing since it puts our functionality for other people before all other considerations, and suggests that for example a nonverbal autistic person or an autistic person with high support needs cannot be a fully engaged member of a society.

I’m always glad to see Autism being talked about more widely and with more positive representation. I hope you continue to bring forward neurodiversity centred content :slight_smile:


That’s a great point! I rather like the term “Islands of ability” to describe differently abled people.

I am going to retire the phrases high functioning and low functioning!

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Oh that’s a good metaphor, I like that one :slight_smile:

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