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World Autism Month – what can employers do to create a

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. One in every 100 people are on the autism spectrum and according to the National Autistic Societythere are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.


Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. Without the right support, it can have a profound – sometimes devastating – effect on individuals and families.


Qube Learning, a leading national recruitment and training provider, has delivered training to many individuals who are autistic, and they believe that the right work setting plays a major part in their success in employment. Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, says: “The stigma of autism is that people cannot live alone or work – this is not true for all autistic people and is one perception of the disability that must be challenged. We have trained employees who live and function by themselves, who proudly own their autism, and want their employer to know their personal story and how far they have come. Everyone comes with their own unique make up and employers should be prepared to see talent on an individual basis, not expecting everyone to work and perform in the same way – that’s unrealistic and mechanical.


“With 21.7% of autistic adults in the UK in full-time or part-time paid employment, it’s important when recruiting that an employer finds out what they can do to make a job role and working environment more comfortable for someone with autism. Learning about effective ways to work with adults with autism helps to ensure they get the best treatment possible, can utilise their abilities, and get the most out of life.

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“As a business we have found that these simple changes can make a huge difference for people with autism –


  • That measures are in place and considerations made for people to function and communicate as well as they can in the workplace.
  • Don’t confuse timelines. Be concise when giving instructions, by using clear and simple language.
  • Allow a person to respond in their own time – don’t rush them or move onto another topic.
  • Be mindful of the needs of others. Actively seek to change your approach in accommodating additional support needs a co-worker or employee may have.
  • If something is going to change, inform those affected in a clear and calm way. Do this as early as possible to allow for the change to be accommodated.
  • Encourage people to take breaks, which will provide a rest from ongoing interactions. This may be particularly beneficial in helping people cope with the stresses that social interactions bring.
  • If someone becomes easily overwhelmed or agitated, speak to them in quieter moments, or approach them in a way that is supportive of their differences. 
  • Do not take offence if a person with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome is unwittingly rude or inappropriate, since social situations can be exceptionally challenging for some people.
  • Invest in developing a quiet space that can be used for relaxation, with natural light that reduces sensory overload.


“Adults on the autism spectrum have specific qualities which can make life especially challenging. Some individuals may not be as verbal as others, or have the best social skills, which makes functional communication and socialising a struggle. Others may need a lot of prompting, training, and reinforcing to learn how to complete daily life skills independently. Not all adults with autism have a job or career path, but many do and so it’s fair to ensure they feel part of a team and are understood by their colleagues. We encourage employers across all industries to instil belief in those who live and work with the disability, and to passionately drive change on society’s outlook on autism and its stereotypes.”


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