Autism Spectrum Disorder

Signs and Symptoms

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental condition that may affect a person’s communication skills, social interactions, interests and/or behaviours. These difficulties are often accompanied by restricted or repetitive physical behaviours and sensory sensitivity to sounds, lights, smells or touch.

The term “spectrum” is used to emphasise that Autism is a unique experience for each person. People with autism have a wide range of challenges and unique strengths such as:

» Difficulty understanding body language, the meaning of expressions, jargon and slang
» Speech and language challenges. E.g. being non-verbal or inappropriate in their communication tactics
» Uncontrolled and/or repetitive movement, speech or use of objects. This can include hand-flapping, rocking, or repeating sounds
» Agitation from changes to their routine or environment
» Intense focus on niche areas of interest. The accumulation of knowledge or skills is in this area is often impressive.

1 in 70 Australians identify as having an Austism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Australia


Affect on Daily Life at Work

» Your employee may struggle to develop relationships due to their difficulty partaking in social interactions

» Their facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures may not reflect their feelings, resulting in misunderstandings that lead to conflict with colleagues and customers
» They may be easily overwhelmed by sensory stimulants such as loud music, bright, flashing lights or congested spaces

Workplace Support

» Develop an understanding of their condition, behaviours and/or triggers
» Ensure training is clear describing their role, responsibilities and everyday protocol like starting times
» Consider modifying the job to suit the employee’s strengths
» Provide clear feedback and praise accomplishments
» Consider assigning a workplace support person to assist with task management
» With permission, educate their colleagues on their specific behaviours, needs and the autism spectrum
» Flexible working arrangements that limit sensory stimulation and/or distractions where practical
» Consider the use or personal prompts or task reminders such as alarms
» Mediate workplace issues that may arise due to miscommunication or misunderstandings

For additional resources and support, visit Autism Spectrum Australia