Sand Dunes

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

Sarah is on the Autism spectrum and faces difficulty communicating in the workplace. Although she may seem shy or withdrawn, she loves her job in the kitchen at the George Tavern and takes pride in contributing to society through work.
Sarah says in the past, the biggest challenge of her disability was having the confidence to talk to her boss about her role in the business. She said “it was very hard and stressful because I didn’t have anyone when I needed help”. Since choosing Castle as her DES provider, she can seek assistance from her case manager to communicate with her boss quickly address her concerns.

“I love going to work, it makes me happy, the guys in the kitchen are really amazing and my boss is really cool”.

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