March 24, 2023
Autistic Colleagues

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Autism is an Autism spectrum disorder which is a disability in the development of the brain. Due to this disability, a person is unable to comprehend emotions and shows repetitive and restrictive behaviors. In some cases, autism is so subtle that you won’t even recognize it in a person but certain conditions can still be very bothersome for them. A person with autism will need to be dealt with care. Since they are slightly different and are more vulnerable to some conditions as compared to normal people, these things should be taken into consideration and they must be given special treatment based on that. 

Working With an Autistic Person

Some workplaces have special places for neurodivergent people and if you work in such an environment you need to be considerate about it. If you are working with an autistic person you will be having the most interaction with them. Building a good relationship is only possible if you do most of the work on your part in building this relationship. That is the only way the workplace will become a safe space for you and your autistic colleague. So if you don’t already know how to deal with such persons, you should be more open to learning about this disability and how you need to deal with such people. 

Following are some of the things you can do on your part while working with an autistic person to make the workplace a safe space for your autistic colleague. This will also normalize autism at work.

Clear Social Communication

Autistic people just like every human being are quite curious but unlike normal people, social communication is slightly different. A lot of effort goes into decoding the signs and signals and all of this can be very tiring for them especially when they have to deal with a lot of people. So make sure you are kind and helpful towards your autistic colleagues in that matter. You should make them feel normal about dealing with people in an autistic way. You should give them the space they need during their workday and should give them the space to work if they need it. If you are working at the managerial level you should instruct people under you to be friendly with their autistic colleagues. You can instruct them on how some verbal and written communication should be interpreted.

Understand When They Are Not at Their Best

Autistic people can get quite irritable if certain things are not up to their expectations. You should give them noise-canceling earphones so they can work in peace and should give them separate spaces where they can work without any interruptions. You should make them feel that it is okay to leave early from stressful situations. Allowing your autistic employee to have lunch at the same time as another employee will help them develop communication and friendships with that individual. You should make them feel that it is alright to have low energy o some days. All these things will not only benefit your autistic colleague but will also do a lot of good for your company because when they are feeling better they will be more productive. 

Predictability Regarding Work

For autistic people, it is important to have everything pre planned. If you are planning to make any changes at the workplace or have any changes in certain tasks and projects you need to inform them beforehand because any unpredictable situations can be more draining for the autistic person. They should be informed about the meeting and social events beforehand and there should be fixed breaks during work. Repetitiveness in their daily routine is appreciated so the same workspace will be good for them. They should be reporting back to only selected managers so that they don’t have to deal with the chaos that comes with it.

Avoid Making Assumptions

As much as their routine is repetitive and predictable, their attitude towards certain things can be unpredictable. This only happens when you make assumptions about autistic people. Instead of doing that you should try to learn the way they behave and what they would or wouldn’t like. This can help them be predictive in this workplace. If you do anything based on your assumptions about them it can get you an unpredictable response, and in certain conditions, they can get aggressive which will not only be emotionally disturbing for them but for you as well. So make sure you don’t surprise them and aren’t making changes in their routine. If you are having problems with it yourself you should try attending a seminar from a disability speaker

Avoid Interruptions

Make sure you aren’t interrupting them when they are working. Interruptions not only mean bothering them with your words while they are working but anything that might divert their attention from the task they are doing will be bothersome to them. This can include loud voices and even string perfumes.


As a colleague, you should make these changes on your part to accommodate an autistic colleague to make your workplace a safe space for them. You should be more concerned about these changes especially when you are at the managerial level.

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