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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Accommodations/considerations for those with Asperger's Syndrome

Society has become accustomed to considering people with a physical impairment and then accommodating those needs by incorporating features into buildings such as ramps, lifts and disabled car-parking spaces). Now is as good a time as any to consider those with Asperger's Syndrome in areas such as Employment, Education. (When I come up with a few more areas I will write another blog post on them). As people vary with their requirements what one Aspie requires isn't quite the same as what another Aspie requires it would make sense to discuss with the individual on whether the accommodations are suitable and whether any other reasonable accommodations can be made to assist with them reaching their full potential.


Employment

Unfortunately an Australian survey has found that only 54% of adult Aspies are in paid employment. With more employers understanding this demographic combined with accommodations such as those listed below it is possible to employ many more Aspies as most want to, and are capable of, working.

Examples of accommodations that can be made to assist Aspies include:


  • Including a section on the application form for the applicant to provide information about any adjustment they may require during the recruitment process and the workplace to help overcome potential barriers or disadvantages.
  • Let interviewees know in advance of the interview who will be on the panel, exactly where the interview will be held and what they can expect to happen during the interview itself. It is also good practice to ask the interviewee if they need you to make any adjustments to the room itself - for example, to the lighting
  • During the interview it is important to adjust the type and wording of questions you ask in order to give Aspies an opportunity to demonstrate their ability. This can be done by asking clear and concise questions as opposed to hypothetical or abstract questions and avoiding idioms and abstract language.
  • Raising staff awareness of the employee with autism’s particular strengths
  • Being clear about your expectations of the employee
  • Not making assumptions
A great resource (of which I got the aforementioned accommodations from) about employing people with Autism/Asperger's Syndrome can be found here: http://www.equalityni.org/archive/pdf/Employingpeoplewithautism.pdf


Education


Most students with Asperger's disorders are eager to learn, however as many have sensory issues and require to be taught in a way they better understand, their specific needs should be taken into consideration.

Examples of changes made to the learning environment/teaching methods include:

  • If they are light sensitive, seat them away from the bright windows.
  • If they are noise sensitive, seat them away from the door or hallway noise.
  • Have a quiet area for the student to use for seat work when needed. This would provide a quiet, non-visually stimulating area to allow better concentration.
  • Make sure to utilize the interest areas of the student to keep him/her involved in the activities. Everyone learns better if lessons are somehow connected to an interest area. If the student likes dinosaurs or the solar system, work that topic into the day, even if it is for a reward.
  • When under stress, ask if the student would like to leave for  a few moments
  • Provide step-by-step written instructions
These are quite useful and contain more information.

I am sure there are other areas that I could cover however am going through writers block at present. If you have any suggestions for what other areas I can cover in a blog in the future please message me or leave a comment. Also if you have any comments on this blog please write them in the comments as I would love to know peoples opinions on this topic. 









4 comments:

  1. Ben, those are good suggestions for companies who want to be accommodating. thank you for that.

    please, at some point, can you give ideas for those with autism/aspergers about how to do best in the interview? perhaps getting the opinions of human resource professionals (is that what they are called in Australia?) or others who are in positions of hiring employees?

    i would love this, not just from standpoint of how to carry oneself in job interview, but better yet, how to use aspergers/autism as a selling point, as a positive for why that actually makes them a better candidate for the job.

    because once the company actually WANTS you, that's when they'll make accomodations & become flexible. until the want you, they'll just give some mealy-mouth excuse about how they don't think you will be a proper fit for the company-culture or found a more qualified person.

    thank you again for your blog.

    MarkF

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    1. Thanks for your suggestion Mark, I will do some networking with people that I can talk about specific tips for people with Autism on how to get a job. Thank-you for reading and stay tuned as I am now posting weekly.

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  2. Ben,
    My only nephew who was diagnosed with aspergers at age 4 is now 23 and is one of those who are unemployed. His father, who he was very close to passed away when he was 7 years old. He was very angry and it affected his views on life. My sister out of love has protected him so much that he would not know how to function in a work environment but I do think he could learn how if given the opportunity. Luckily his father set him up financially so he does not need to work. He is surrounded by people who love him and give him his space. I am very close to him and love him for who he is. He is so smart and really funny. I think you are such a strong person for being the voice of individuals with aspergers and I think what you are doing is needed. Not everyone understands the needs of individuals with aspergers and they need a voice to make people understand that they are very capable and have a lot to offer. And yes, employers need to realize once they are comfortable in their surroundings that individuals with aspergers are very productive...maybe more than most.

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    1. What he would benefit from and what we lack in Australia as far as I know would be a specific job agency for people with Autism that understand the specific needs of autistic individuals. The only thing that I can think of suggesting at this stage is if their is an Adult Asperger's Social Group in the area he could go there to start improving his social skills and it would help him to reduce social anxiety.

      Thank-you for reading and stay tuned as I am now posting weekly.

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