The World Health Organization summarises the different autism spectrum diagnoses under the term ‘neurodevelopmental disorders’. However, the term disorder is increasingly replaced by the notion of neurodiversity. This approach recognises that autism is a characteristic comparable to ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.
Whether an autistic person experiences their condition as a disability or not depends on the individual. Some self-advocacy and autistic pride movements do not see autistic people as disabled – they see the environment as the limiting factor. To others, autism itself can be very disabling. Either way, it is important to recognise that all autistic people are entitled to reasonable adjustments.
An autism spectrum diagnosis includes the following criteria:
As autism affects each individual differently, we refer to an autism spectrum. Just like everybody else, autistic people have unique personalities. The spectrum is three-dimensional and the diversity within the autism spectrum is infinite. That explains why auticon takes a person-centric approach: we want to create workplaces that work for people as individuals, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all formula.
The autism spectrum includes several different diagnoses, such as Asperger syndrome, high functioning autism, atypical autism, or PDD-NOS. It is important to recognise that diagnoses are not always clear-cut and mainly serve as an assessment framework.
Many autistic people have above-average cognitive skills, which can enable them to compensate for, or ‘camouflage’, any social or communication difficulties. Consequently, autism can be referred to as a hidden condition and is often only diagnosed later in life.
Some cognitive strengths tend to be more prevalent in the autism community:
Typical workplaces, however, can often produce barriers for autistic people, resulting in unduly high unemployment rates. Some of these workplace challenges include:
auticon employs qualified job coaches in order to create work environments that work well for both our consultants and our clients.
We view neurodiversity as a competitive advantage. Our approach to providing technology services is enhanced through diverse thinking. It’s this approach that helps us evaluate and solve technical issues for clients. For example, we may apply a stronger focus to complex data and systems, excel in roles involving repetitious tasks where attention to detail is vital, and demonstrate an ability to communicate in a voice not inhibited by bias.