Zoom Autism Magazine Issue12 - Page 18

Creating a Truly Inclusive Workplace

Creating a suitable work environment for sensory and social challenges involves understanding and accommodating these key challenge areas for each person individually . Many companies are greatly simplifying and modifying the recruiting and onboarding process . At Platinum Bay , we don ’ t require formal resumes , and our casual interviews reduce anxiety . From our perspective , we ’ re not hiring professional resume writers or professional interview takers . During an interview , Autistic people may avoid eye contact or flap their hands or take longer to answer a question , but none of those things are indicative of a person ’ s capability . Some companies are also adopting a “ show , don ’ t tell ” model of recruitment . Additionally , our entire company works remotely so that people can choose the sensory and social environment that works best for them . At other companies , Autistic people are often provided a workspace away from the main throughways and given the ability to use headphones to listen to music or cancel out external noise . The challenges with politics can be mitigated by being aware of these issues and relationships and working to shield our people from them . The best leaders I have had in my career were experts at protecting their people from the other goings on in the organization so that they could focus on their work , uninterrupted . For executive function challenges , we provide a staff that is fully equipped to understand Autism , its challenges , and how to mitigate them . We use several tools and techniques to meet those challenges , including clear and consistent written directions , coaching , and skills training . Ultimately , it is about getting to know each person as an individual – their strengths and challenges – and how they can be most successful within our organization .

Beyond Neurodiversity

In mid-April , I was invited to attend the Autism at Work Summit in Palo Alto , CA . The Summit was hosted by SAP , Microsoft , EY , and Hewlett Packard Enterprises and was attended by over 50 other companies , non-profits , government organizations and universities . During the three-day Summit , the conversation revolved around planning , building , running , and sustaining Autism hiring programs . As someone actively involved in creating a successful workplace for Autistic individuals at Platinum Bay Technologies , I left feeling inspired and encouraged by the efforts of dozens of organizations and their spirit of collaboration and cooperation that is paving the way for more widespread diversity and inclusion in workplaces around the globe .
As noted by Randy Lewis in his book No Greatness Without Goodness about Walgreen ’ s inclusive hiring program , the benefits of hiring neurodivergent and disabled people reaches far beyond the lives of their Autistic employees . By taking the time to understand and help mitigate the challenges their employees faced , they found that it not only increased productivity and quality and reduced accidents but also made those involved with supporting these efforts better people – better spouses or partners , better parents and better friends . That same sentiment was echoed across the board at the Autism at Work Summit .

“ Ultimately , it is about getting to know each person as an individual – their strengths and challenges – and how they can be most successful within our organization .”

Many of the benefits we find in supporting neurodivergent individuals in the workplace have far broader , if not global , effects on our business operations . The Autistic person , who may be viewed as difficult because they ask a lot of questions , may in fact be highlighting our shortcomings as leaders to effectively communicate in a clear , consistent , and detailed manner . By con-
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ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses
covenant. Daddy would always be back. The next time the tires squealed on the pavement, I knew that no matter what, he’d return. What I didn’t know was that the sense of security he’d ensured that I had in that moment, and every mo- ment thereafter, would become the foundation for my definition of family. I am grateful that my marriage has followed a very different tra- jectory than my parents’, but the truth is that family, in any form, is complicated. When family members have competing needs, which, I suppose, in some form, all do at some point, it’s even more complicated. breathe—and close enough to stay connected. And we can. Because just as I knew that my dad would always be back, we know with certainty that we are in this— all of it—together. I grew up an only child. I cherish my relationship with my step-sister, but she didn’t come into my life until I was four- teen and, even then, we lived under separate roofs—she with her mom and me with my dad. Neither of us knew anything but the luxury of our parents’ undivided attention. “Life for our family isn’t al- ways smooth. But the in- congruous truth is that it’s also all the more beautiful for its trials.” So, like every oth- er family I know, we have our chal- lenges. Lots of them. Both those that we face from outside of our walls and the ones that live between us. We don’t pretend they’re not there. We don’t sweep them under the rug. We face them, head on, together. But facing everything together doesn’t mean that we can always *be* together comfortably. Like any group of imperfect humans, we aren’t always able to accommodate one another’s needs and maintain our own well-being simultaneously. In those moments, we sometimes need to walk away. Not far. Just far enough to When Katie was a toddler, I knew that I wanted a second child, but I worried about how I would be able to give both her and her sibling the indi- vidual relationships that I had relished with my parents. I didn’t know how I would do it. But I knew that I had to. When it became clear that our family had some extra chal- lenges, it became ever more important to me to forge those bonds with each of my girls. To spend time alone with them. To carve out space for them as individuals. To be to them what my da Bv2FRrBW"f֖ǒrFFN( 2&V6RRbW 7BFVfrfVGW&W>( FWfW'"bW22W"vVVP&VF62vRV6fPWF6F&VvV6W07FfFW2FBvRfRFFFvWFW"&GV2@67&G2FBf'g&"F"B&氦bV&W2FB&RW7BW'>( G6&VBF&Vv7F&W2'WB67&VBB7V6RbגFN( 2ff&FRFw2FF2FvfPW2WW&V6W22vgG2ƖRFR6&7F2F@RB2&VWFgVvfR6VB'&RB^( @W7BFRGvbW>( GF6"FVWBF&FPW&W"BW"FW"6"( g&VG2(  V&ƖW"F2V"vVRvfRFRBRF6ЦWG2FFf"W"gF&'FF( vPV&W2( R6B( ĖFRVBFW&RF@GFW"( ЦRFBvR7BV6FW"WFR&fW"Ц&F6V6VFW"B6( Ğ( WfW"VfR( Х6W2f֖Ǟ( FWfW'Bbf֖Ǟ( F26ЧƖ6FVBBB6&RWfV&R6Ɩ6FV@vVN( 2G6'WBf"W2N( 2FR6Ɩ6ЧF2FV6VfW2FBfR'&VvBW266W"FRFW"7G&VwFVVBW2B6vVBW0vvR&Vǒ&RBN( 2FRW76V&VB6V'2v( @FBfF67FBBVvfW&rfRw0W2Ff6RvFWfW"6W2WBvFw&6RV"BV6FW"F6RV&W2FR&rW2BFR6W"WfW'Ff&WG7&VFR6wVvRFWFRW2FvWFW"BW7B'&B'WB'fЧVW2B6&VBWW&V6RFWvfRW2BЦf&FV&&WBW'6VfW2V6FW"@FRv&BFWFV6W2FBvR2FfGV2&Rv'FbW"vFRBW"vVff'B2vV2RFW.( 2FW6rW2FBvPF( BfRF&RFR6R6676RF&PFvWFW"BFN( 2V6W76'&V6W6R6WFW2&VpFR6R6676R26ǒFV6BFN( 2ƖfRf"W"f֖ǒ6( Bv26F'WBFP6w'VW2G'WF2FBN( 26FR&P&VWFgVf"G2G&2&V6W6R2Fff7VB2@6&RFƗfRF&VvN( 2FR&B7GVfbF@FV6W2W2&WBW'6VfW2BV6FW"गN( 2FR6VvW2FB&fRFW2FBR0vrvW&^( FGFW"rW77BvWG2गN( 2FRV'F'&V0FBFV6W2&W@G'W7BBfF@fRf֖ǒ''&P7Bf֖ƖW2&RFgVFBFW&RFvWFW"ऒƖRFrG2b7GVfbvFFFG@FRWfW'vB7FvFגFW"fVV6gB6fRvFW"vFגFBƖRFFgVW0ƖR( vW&R&RFVЦvs( ƖRЦrFRVvvVvR&RFvWFW"fVVvW6R( vVvR&RFvWFW"fVVvW6R( ФN( 2FRVv&Rb72FB6w2W0FBvR67W'ffRBN( 2FRFW2v6vRfVVFR7@fRvrFג( 2W6R&V6W6RPW2RG2b66FR7GVfbBFW2אWF6F&VvV6W0