Neurodiversity in the workplace: Four tips for interacting with individuals with autism

CR Blog guest post by Racquel Royer

Neurodiversity is not about disability, it’s about respecting differences. Everybody has unique skills, and autism often comes with special abilities. As more companies recognize this, a growing list of employers are leveraging the talents of neuro-diverse professionals to meet urgent needs in high demand areas like data analytics and cybersecurity, and to drive productivity and innovation. DXC Technology and Ernst & Young (EY) hosted the Neurodiversity @Work and @Home event last month, to highlight why neurodiversity is beneficial to everyone, both at our companies and in our communities. Speakers provided personal accounts, community resources and great tips for how employees can get involved in improving their work culture and making a difference. Respect, patience and support go a very long way.

DXC speakers spotlighted our Dandelion Program, which is an initiative to build valuable IT skills and careers for people on the autism spectrum. EY spoke about their Neurodiversity Centers of Excellence (NCoEs), which leverage the technology and analytics skills of autistic individuals to provide high quality, cost-effective support for in demand areas. Last year, DXC and EY, among other leaders, jointly launched the Autism @ Work Employee Roundtable, to support hiring initiatives specific to individuals on the Autism Spectrum and to recognize the benefits they provide. Both companies stressed the importance of providing special resources, tools and support for employees on the autism spectrum. These same services are provided to “neurotypicals,” so why shouldn’t they be available to everyone?

Here are four great communication tips provided that can also be applied to any diverse group:

  1. Avoid Assumptions (AA). Easier said than done but mindfulness is the first step. Individuals on the autism spectrum often miss out on opportunities because they act and communicate differently. For example, some individuals may fidget or appear disinterested during conversation.
  2. Communicate clearly and pace the flow of information. Humor, idioms or metaphors can often lead to confusion. A phrase like “The boss just dropped a fire drill in my lap” could easily be misunderstood.
  3. Understand relevant vocabulary terms such as neuro-diverse, Asperger’s Syndrome and autism spectrum. People may want to be referenced a specific way or using specific terms. You can learn more about these terms at autismspeaks.org.
  4. Anticipate sensitivities and be patient – understand that miscommunication happens and it can only be resolved with patience and understanding.

You can help raise awareness and improve neurodiversity culture at your workplace and in your community by sharing resources, information and employment opportunities with anyone you know.


Racquel-Royer-headshotRacquel Royer is a Digital Marketing Intern at DXC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: