How To Deal With An Autistic Coworker In 15 Ways

Written By Aleena

To deal with an autistic coworker, first, try to educate yourself about autism. Understand how it can affect communication and social interaction.

If you are having difficulty communicating with your autistic coworker, try using visual aids or writing things down.

15 Ways How To Deal With An Autistic Coworker

Let’s discuss in further detail some tips on how to deal with an autistic coworker:

1. Educate Yourself On Autism:

If you are not familiar with autism, it is important to educate yourself about the condition.

Why fit in - How To Deal With An Autistic Coworker

This will help you understand how autism can affect communication and social interaction. 

There are many resources available online or through your local library.

Also, you can ask your autistic coworker about their experiences. Understand how they prefer to communicate.

By educating yourself, you will be able to better understand your autistic coworker.

2. Use Visual Aids:

If it’s difficult communicating with your autistic coworker, try using visual aids.

Many people with autism are visual learners. So, using visual aids can be helpful when working with them.

For example, you may want to use charts, diagrams, or pictures to explain things.

You can also use written notes to help explain what you are trying to say.

This can help your coworker better understand you. Likewise, you can ask them to use visual aids when communicating with you.

They can either draw you a picture or use hand gestures to help explain what they are trying to say.

3. Write Things Down:

Another way to communicate with your autistic coworker is to write things down.

This can be helpful if your coworker has difficulty understanding verbal communication. 

You can also ask your coworker to write down what they need or want to say.

Moreover, you may want to avoid using words that have multiple meanings.

Instead, opt for single-meaning words to help reduce confusion.

Sometimes, it may be helpful to use a whiteboard or dry-erase board to communicate.

This can be especially useful if your autistic coworker is nonverbal.

4. Be Patient:

It is important to be patient when communicating with your autistic coworker.

Autism can cause delays in communication. So, it is important to give your coworker time to process what you are saying.

Also, avoid speaking too fast or using too many words. Keep your messages short and clear.

This will allow your coworker time to understand you and respond. If you become frustrated, take a break and come back later.

5. Respect Their Space:

Some people with autism may not like to be touched. So, it is important to respect their personal space.

Do not try to hug or touch your coworker without first asking for permission.

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Also, avoid speaking too close to their face. Give them plenty of space and let them approach you when they are ready.

When you respect their personal space, you will make them feel more comfortable and safe.

6. Consider Their Sensitivities:

People with autism may have sensitivities to certain sounds, lights, or smells.

For example, they may not like loud noises or bright lights. Or they may be sensitive to certain smells.

It is important to consider these sensitivities when you are around your coworker.

For example, you may want to avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes.

You may also want to wear headphones if you are working in a loud environment.

You can ask your coworker about their sensitivities and try to avoid things that bother them.

7. Be Understanding:

It is important to be understanding of your autistic coworker. Remember that they are not choosing to act the way they do.

Instead, their behavior is a result of their autism. So, try to be patient and understanding.

But rather than lashing out, it’s important to remember that your coworker is just like you. They’re doing the best they can.

8. Be Flexible:

Flexible thinking is key when working with someone with autism. Be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

Also, be willing to change your plans if needed. For example, if your coworker prefers to work alone, try to accommodate their needs.

This may mean working on separate projects or doing your own thing for a while.

The important thing is to be flexible and willing to adjust your plans.

This way, you can both be successful in your work.

9. Seek Support:

If you are having trouble dealing with your autistic coworker, seek support. It can be from your supervisor or the HR department.

They may be able to provide you with additional resources or training.

There are also many support groups available for people who have autism.

These groups can provide you with valuable information and support.

10. Help Them In Projects:

If you are working on a project with your autistic coworker, try to be as helpful as possible.

Offer to do things that they may have difficulty with.

For example, if they have trouble understanding the project, offer to explain it to them.

Or, if they are having trouble with a task, offer to help them. The important thing is to be patient and willing to help.

11. Take Breaks:

We understand it can be not easy to take breaks when you have a lot of work to do.

But it is essential to take breaks when working with someone with autism.

Child with autism - How To Deal With An Autistic Coworker

This will help them to recharge and refocus. It will also help to prevent meltdowns or outbursts.

So, try to take a few minutes every couple of hours to take a break. This will help both of you to be more productive.

12. Fostering A Friendship:

It is possible to develop a friendship with your autistic coworker. But it is essential to take things slowly and let them initiate contact.

Do not try to force a friendship. Instead, let it develop naturally.

You may want to start by inviting them to lunch or coffee. Or you can ask them about their interests.

The important thing is to be patient and understanding.

13. Communicate Openly:

When working with someone with autism, try to communicate openly.

Let them know what your expectations are and ask them about their needs.

Also, let them know if there are any changes in the workplace. This way, they can be ready and not be caught off guard.

14. Tolerate Their Unusual Behavior:

Some autistic people may have unusual behaviours. For example, they may stim (self-stimulatory behaviour) or make odd noises. 

It is essential to tolerate these behaviours and not make a big deal.

Remember, they are not doing these things on purpose. So, try to ignore them and move on.

15. Respect Their Privacy:

It is essential to respect your autistic coworker’s privacy. Please do not ask them personal questions or pry into their personal life. 

Also, please do not share personal information about them with others.

Remember, they have a right to privacy, just like everyone else. So, be respectful and do not invade their privacy.

So here you have it, 15 tips for dealing with your autistic coworker. Just remember to be patient, understanding, and respectful.

You can develop a good working relationship with them with a little effort.

What Is Autism?

Let’s educate ourselves on this topic, shall we?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour.

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It originates from a complex group of brain abnormalities.

ASD typically appears during the first three years of life. It continues throughout a person’s life. It affects about 1 in 59 children.

Cause:

There is no single cause for ASD. The reason may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Although there has been much research on this topic, the cause is still unknown.

Symptoms:

Symptoms typically begin in early childhood and often persist into adulthood.

Autism can range from mild to severe. People with ASD often have difficulty communicating and interacting with others.

They may also have repetitive behaviours, such as body rocking or spinning.

ASD includes difficulties in speech and nonverbal communication.

ASD associates with intellectual disability and difficulties in motor coordination and attention.

It also includes physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Diagnosis:

ASD is diagnosed by observing a person’s behaviour. There is no medical test, such as a blood test, to diagnose ASD.

Doctors will often use a set of criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose.

Treatment:

There is no single treatment for ASD. Treatment typically involves a combination of behaviour therapy, speech therapy, and medication.

Behaviour therapy helps people with ASD learn:

– How to interact with others and

– Improve their communication skills. 

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Speech therapy helps people with ASD improve their language skills. 

Medication can help people with ASD manage their symptoms.

Outlook:

Most people with ASD will need lifelong support.

With early diagnosis and treatment, most people with ASD can live happy and productive lives.

You can also contact the Autism Society of America for more information.

Autism Employees: Employment Rights?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees with disabilities from discrimination.

This includes employees with ASD. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with ASD.

Reasonable accommodations are changes in the work environment.

Or how things are usually done to help a person with a disability perform their job duties.

Examples of reasonable accommodations for an employee with ASD include:

– Allowing the employee to take breaks as needed

– Allowing the employee to work from home if necessary

– Provide the employee with a quiet workspace

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– Modifying the company’s dress code. It will allow the employee to wear comfortable clothes that meet their sensory needs

These are just a few examples of reasonable accommodations.

The type of accommodation provided will depend on the needs of the employee.

Diversity In Workplace:

We encourage diversity in the workplace. Employers should not discriminate against employees with ASD.

Instead, they should provide reasonable accommodations. Help the employee perform their job duties.

It can also help create a more tolerant environment for all employees.

Are Autistic Employees Intelligent?

There is no single answer to this question. Each person with ASD is unique and has their strengths and weaknesses. 

Some people with ASD may be brilliant. Perhaps others may have intellectual disabilities.

People with ASD tend to excel in fields that need attention to detail and repetitive tasks.

For example, many people with ASD work in computer programming. 

Conclusion:

To deal with an autistic coworker, it is essential to be understanding and tolerant. 

Also, use visual aids and take things slowly when communicating. If possible, try to provide the person with a quiet workspace. 

Most importantly, do not discriminate against the person with ASD. 

Instead, provide reasonable accommodations to help them perform their job duties.

Last Updated on 5 months by Shahzaib Arshad

Aleena

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