The Undiscovered Workforce – Part 5

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Recruiting a Person with an ASD

When looking for staff, an employer hopes to find the person with the best skills for the job, and it makes sense to appeal to a wide range of people in the recruitment process. Yet people with an ASD are often hugely disadvantaged in typical recruitment processes. Many find getting a job much harder than doing or keeping it – meaning that employers are missing out on a potential pool of talent.

There are many minor adjustments which can be made to the recruitment process which help people with an ASD apply for jobs, and improve the chances of employers recognizing their skills as potential employees. Many of these may also benefit other candidates and enhance overall efficiency in recruitment.

Job Advertisements

Job advertisements often contain confusing ‘jargon’ and extraneous information or complex design which may be confusing to many applicants, including people with an ASD. It may be better to use clearly worded advertisements listing essential skills.

Focusing on Key Skills

It is relatively common for employers to include in a job description or advertise skills which are not essential for the job to be done effectively. Typical examples are ‘excellent communication skills’ and ‘good team player’, which are often included as ‘default’ skills when they are not actually necessary. Many people with an ASD do not apply for jobs demanding these attributes as they are aware of their potential difficulties in these areas and assume themselves to be ineligible for the job (even where they have strong, directly relevant skills). When drafting advertisements and job descriptions, it is helpful to make a conscious effort to consider objectively what abilities and experience are genuinely essential for the job to be done well, and to omit those which are not.

Application Forms

It may be helpful to people with an ASD to include a section on an application form which gives applicants the opportunity to highlight any help or adjustments they may want at an interview. Clear guidance about what information the employer needs on the application form can also be helpful.

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To Learn More Please Visit:

Autism Works Ottawa

Y's Owl Maclure

Or CONTACT Suzanne Ford at (613) 492-9000 or (613) 266-3205

Email suzanne@ysowlmaclure.org

 

 

 

The Undiscovered Workforce – Part 4

Improving the Skills of Managers and Other Staff

Having a diverse workforce brings benefits to staff and business alike. Managers who have worked with people with an ASD have commented that they have learned to communicate with their whole team more effectively and to organize and prioritize work better. Immediate colleagues are likely to benefit in similar ways, bringing advantages and greater efficiency to a whole team.

Good PR and Corporate Image

Thousands of people in this country have disabilities. They may well be clients or customers of our business. Employing a person or people with an ASD send a message that you are positive in your attitude to disabled people, value the qualities they have to offer and are a socially responsible employer.

Meeting Legal Obligatoins

The Ontario Human Rights Code stipulates that employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the workplace and in the recruitment process for people with disabilities.

Reasonable adjustments in the case of a person with an ASD can often be made both readily and economically. For example, people with an ASD may process information and instructions more easily if they are written down rather than spoken or if a task is broken down into component parts. Similarly, asking clear, specific questions in an interview will make it easier for a person with an ASD to provide the information you are looking for.

If you are interested in the potential benefits a person with an ASD could bring to your workforce, you may well find you need to make relatively minor adjustments to ensure they can work effectively and efficiently.

 

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To Learn More Please Visit:

Autism Works OttawaY's Owl Maclure

Or CONTACT Suzanne Ford (613) 492-9000 or (613) 266-3205

Email suzanne@ysowlmaclure.org

 

The Undiscovered Workforce – Part 3

The Benefits of Employing Someone with ASD

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People with ASD can make a valuable contribution to company workplaces, bringing benefit to employers with the qualities they bring to a job in their company. They very often make particularly reliable, hardworking and motivated employees. Many are good at paying close attention to detail, are highly meticulous and maintain a high level of accuracy.

In addition, jobs of a repetitive nature, whether basic or highly complex, often appeal strongly to people with ASD, meaning that they may excel in areas where other employees lose focus and concentration. There is also strong evidence that people with ASD are often extremely keen workers who thrive in a structured, well organized work environment, leading to high attendance records and potentially a lower staff turnover.

Many people with ASD are highly intelligent and well educated. In addition, they often display the following characteristics:

  • Ability to concentrate without distraction on one particular task for lengthy periods
  • Reliability
  • Accuracy (often 100%)
  • Close attention to detail and an ability to identify errors
  • Technically ability (many have excellent IT skills and qualifications)
  • Detailed factual knowledge (often encyclopedic)
  • Excellent memory
  • Conscientiousness and persistence

In short, a person with an ASD may be better at a particular job than someone without. Where people with an ASD have learned and settled into a job, they are often highly regarded and valued by both management and colleagues.

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To Learn More Please Visit:

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Or CONTACT Suzanne Ford (613) 492-9000 or (613) 266-3205 Email suzanne@ysowlmaclure.org

The Undiscovered Workforce – Part 2

The Kinds of Work People with ASD Can Do

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People with ASD are individuals, so the jobs and tasks for which they are suited will vary from person to person, just as it does for other members of the workforce. They succeed in a huge range of different jobs.

Although it is always difficult to generalize, there are areas where people with ASD may excel. These include:

  • Tasks where attention to detail and accuracy is required (example: research work, data input or word processing)
  • Tasks involving numbers, statistics and facts (example: finance or accounting)
  • Tasks where there is a clear procedure to follow (example: dealing with incoming and outgoing post, archiving, library work or filing)
  • Highly structured tasks with a right and a wrong way of doing something (example: IT support, computer programming or systems testing)

It is commonly thought that because people with ASD typically experience problems with communication, social interaction and changes in routine, that they are unlikely to do well in jobs which require these skills. However, while many people with ASD don’t feel comfortable in environments where there are unexpected changes, or in jobs which involve a lot of face-to-face with customers, there are others who thrive in these roles, including some in senior positions.

The successful employment of a person with an ASD, as with any member of staff, relies on focusing on an individual’s strengths, abilities and skills, The key is to treat each person as an individual and avoid assumptions about their likely performance and because they have an ASD.

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To Learn More Please Visit:

Autism Works Ottawa

Y's Owl Maclure

Or CONTACT Suzanne Ford (613) 492-9000 or (613) 266-3205 Email suzanne@ysowlmaclure.org

 

The Undiscovered Workforce – Part 1

Right Person – Right Job

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People with Autism and Asperger syndrome often have numerous (and sometimes exceptional) skills which enable them to make excellent employees. It is important to help employers understand the benefits of employing a person with Autism or Asperger syndrome, how the employee can be supported in the workplace and what support is available to employers throughout this process.

What are Autism and Asperger syndrome?

Autism is a condition which affects the way a person sees the world, processes information and interacts with other people. People who have autism typically find it difficult to develop social relationships, to communicate with ease and to think in the abstract. Although a minority of people with autism have learning disabilities, others have average or higher than average intelligence and are often highly educated. People who fall into the latter group usually have a form of autism called Asperger syndrome

The ‘Autism Spectrum’

Autism is called a ‘spectrum’ condition meaning that it can range from scarcely perceptible difficulties to severe disability. There are some traits that impact on most people with the condition to some degree or other. These include:

  • Difficulty with using imagination or abstract though, including empathizing with other people or situations;
  • Difficulty with ‘reading’ non-verbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions or tone of voice;
  • Following particular routines (and possibly a resistance to change in these routines);
  • Strong personal interests and hobbies;
  • A tendency to take words literally (for example, phrases like ‘you look like a million dollars’ or ‘he’s all fingers and thumbs’ or ‘she must have eyes in the back of her head’ may be very confusing);
  • Difficulty with and a dislike for eye contact;
  • Sensory issues – hypersensitivity to noise, smell, taste or touch

Because autism is a spectrum condition, people are often described as having an ‘autistic spectrum disorder’ or ‘ASD’, which covers the whole range of the condition, including people with Asperger syndrome.

Employees with ASD 

People with Autism and Asperger syndrome often have numerous (and sometimes exceptional) skills which enable them to make excellent employees. As well as their individual abilities, some traits associated with ASD can, when well channeled, be a considerable beneficial in the workplace. For example, many people with ASD are good at paying close attention to detail and are meticulous about routines, rules and accuracy – meaning they are often extremely reliable, and can excel at jobs such as accounting, where consistent procedures and precision are vital. Other people with autism enjoy repetitive tasks (whether basic or complex) and perform very well in fields such as IT or administration.

In spite of these abilities, people with ASD often find the work environment hard to deal with because they face difficulties in transferring skills and knowledge to new tasks or environments. Where a person without the condition can usually see readily what is required of them and draw on their experience to complete tasks, a person with ASD may not immediately see how they can adapt their skills to a new role or activities. Because of this, they often need some level of support in the workplace.

Much of this support can be very straightforward and easy to provide, such as ensuring that instructions are precise, or that a person’s day is structured with clear priorities. Some individuals, and their employers or colleagues, may need more intense or specialized input, with a supporter working alongside the employee until they feel comfortable in the job. Once settled in, people with ASD often become highly valued staff members and many managers who work with them find that the skills they develop as a result – particularly in prioritizing work and in communicating what they expect from staff – benefit the workplace as a whole.

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Starting off 2017 at The Owl Cafe

It’s the New Year and The Owl Cafe has made a few changes to start 2017. We have our new Menu Board completed (without tax included), new pirces on selected items, and a new display for ‘Weighed-for-You’ quilts. The Owl Cafe is really excited about 2017. It’s going to be a great year!

 

Coming Soon!

Autism Works Carleton Place - Social Me ASD Program

Location: The Owl Café and Meeting Place, 135 Bridge Street, Carleton Place

For more information, cost or to register please contact Suzanne Ford at (613) 721-1500 ext. 219 or email suzanne@ysowlmclure.org or CONTACT

The Owl Café and Meeting Place

Autism Works Carleton Place

613-266-3205 or 613-492-9000