3 Tips For Working With Individuals On The Autism Spectrum

Posted on: 4 May 2018

If you just started a new job or position where you interact on a regular basis with individuals who are on the autism spectrum, it is helping to understand how to work and communities effective with individuals on the autism spectrum. One of the most important things to keep in mind though is that each person you encounter who has autism is unique, and these are just a few general tips and guidelines.

1. Keep Your Workplace Organized

Many people who are on the autism spectrum appreciate organization. Being in an area that is really messy and disorganized can be overwhelming for some individuals on the autism spectrum. Try to keep your workplace nice and organized. This will help the individuals you are working with find things more easily and understand where things go and how the systems work.

2. Be Mindful of Sensory Input

Many individuals on the autism spectrum have different sensory input issues. Sensory input issues can vary greatly, so be sure to ask if the individual you are working with has any sensory input issues, so you can be aware of these issues and make adjustments in your interactions and the physical environment to accommodate these sensory issues.

For example, for someone with visual input bright lights may be overwhelming for them. Or for an individual with tactile input, certain textures and surfaces may be uncomfortable for them to be around. Or for someone with smell or taste input, they may be bothered by strong smells.

These are all issues that can be easy to accommodate for if you know they exist, so be sure to ask.

3. Be Mindful of Your Words

For many individuals on the autism spectrum, when you speak, they take what you say literally. They may not pick up or understand idioms and sarcasm in the same way that you are used to.

It is best to be direct when speaking to someone on the autism spectrum. Say exactly what you mean. If you want them to do something, provide specific and detailed instructions. If you want to express how you feel, be very direct, such as "I feel frustrated when you don't do…". This will help avoid confusion over idioms, sarcasm, and indirect communication styles.

Keep in mind that individuals on the autism spectrum are unique people with unique needs, just like everyone else you encounter in your life. Try to keep your workplace clean and organized, and when providing instructions, keep your instructions direct and provide a system for getting any tasks done. Be mindful of your words and keep them as direct as possible. Find out about any sensory input issues that they might have and make adjustments to that they don't have to be around these sensory input triggers.

For more information, contact a specialist like Terri Matthews