An honest approach
As I already mentioned, autistic people can be painfully honest. This makes them unable to cope with office-related power mongering, political power-plays, and so on. They generally won’t scheme to get ourselves into better positions in the company, and they won’t notice if someone is manipulating them in order to do the same.
Lacking that ability to see the ‘wolves’ in the office is what causes a lot of the problems for autistic people at work. Every office has political struggles and drama, and it’s when autistic people unknowingly get involved with something they don’t understand that they can put their jobs at risk. Furthermore, they typically don’t have ‘social filters’, meaning they can’t see the difference between how to act with the CEO and the janitor.
I will end my advice to companies considering an autism hiring program on a positive note. When you consider that people on the autism spectrum tend to hate big change in their lives, helping them be content at work could mean they remain extremely loyal to your company and give you their very best. And in a myriad of detail-oriented roles that ‘very best’ can be much more impactful and consistent than you’d expect of someone who’s not on the spectrum.
At SAP I’ve found a place I can be myself and be truly valued for it. Everyone on my team is unique and special in their own way, so I fit in perfectly. My work environment is small, quiet and offers very few distractions, and being able to socialize with similar people makes it much easier for me. It inspires me to believe there is a strong future for autistic people in the workplace.
Lydie Eustache is a Montreal-based quality associate at SAP Canada.
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