As diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords in the modern workplace, many companies have tried — with varying degrees of success — to hire and integrate employees on the autism spectrum. But as tough as finding a job may be for employees on the autism spectrum, getting one foot in the door is often the easy part. People with autism, like all other employees, have individual needs; but unlike their neurotypical peers, autistic employees might not be receiving the support they need in a typical work environment.
Every company has a Human Resources department, but what makes Aspiritech unique is that we also have a team of professionals called Employee Support Specialists who are trained to do exactly what the name suggests: support employees with everyday needs, from communication to mental health and organization.
Reanin Stone manages the team of support specialists at Aspiritech. She explains, “We identify the needs of each employee, and communicate those needs to their managers, QA Testing Leads and coaches to help them support their individual team members.” These mechanisms of support can range from identifying which employees are visual versus auditory learners, to accommodations for any type of sensory issues. Reanin recalls that one analyst had an issue with laughter; the sensitivity was noted, so that the employee could be warned appropriately, while also providing the accommodation needs for the employee to work without sensory distractions.
A support system for people on the autism spectrum is arguably just a matter of perspective. HR departments across corporations will provide a standing desk for an employee who has lower back pain. They’ll provide a lactation room for people who are nursing, or flexible hours for parents, or commuter buses for employees. A support system for employees on the autism spectrum is no different: something as simple as providing noise-cancelling headphones can transform a work environment from hostile and distracting, to welcoming and productive. Aspiritech has demonstrated that such support measures work to increase productivity and employee retention.