Guide to Creating an Autism Friendly Workplace in Northern Ireland
Autism is more common than people think. People with autism are talented and will be an asset to businesses throughout Northern Ireland, however there is a stigma amongst many employers on hiring people with autism. Only 21.7% of adults with autism are in full time employment, even though these individuals have great knowledge, skills, and the determination to succeed in employment.
As a result of this many employers and their staff members have very little experience on working with team members who have autism. Read JAM Card’s guide to creating an autism friendly workplace in Northern Ireland and create an environment that is better for all employees.
Creating An Autism Friendly Workplace in Northern Ireland
Educate Employees with Disability Awareness Training
One of the first steps to creating an autism friendly workplace in Northern Ireland is to introduce your staff to JAM Card’s disability awareness training. Here they will learn about communication barriers or hidden disabilities and how they can create a friendly environment for their fellow employees based on their individual needs.
Over 3500 businesses have signed up as a JAM Card Partner or a JAM Card Friendly Business. Through our training courses you will receive tailored training and expert guidance on improving your diversity and inclusion strategy and ensuring you become an Autism friendly business in Northern Ireland who is welcoming to all.
Reduce Environmental Stresses
You can create an Autism friendly business in Northern Ireland by reducing sensory input where possible. Sensory overload may cause your colleagues with autism to feel stress and uncomfortable. You can make these changes by adding adjustable blinds, avoid harsh lighting and minimise background noises. You can also show your support for adults with autism in Northern Ireland by introducing a quiet space for colleagues to relax and wind down when the workday becomes overwhelming.
Plan Meetings in Advance
People with autism like to carefully plan their day, from coffee and lunch breaks to meetings with team members. Springing a meeting on them without warning can cause them to feel stressed, uncomfortable and can even ruin their mood for the rest of the day. Within the workplace there are meetings that can’t always be scheduled in advance. It is a good idea to give employees with autism at least a 15-minute heads up or by suggesting an alternative time.
We should also note that it is important not to be late for meetings. Your colleagues with autism will expect the meeting to start at the correct time and may even attend five minutes early. If you are late always apologise and make sure you colleague is aware that you value their time.
Ask For Employee Feedback
It is important that you ask your employees with hidden disabilities for feedback to ensure that you are providing the correct support for adults with autism in Northern Ireland and are making a positive impact to their working life. Together you can work on any improvements within the office and continually work on becoming an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Disability Awareness Training in Northern Ireland
Becoming a JAM Card Partner or a JAM Card Friendly Business is the first steps towards becoming an Autism friendly business in Northern Ireland. Through our training and E Learning courses you will be supported in the creation of a positive and inclusive environment for both employees and your customers. For more information on how JAM Card can support your inclusion and diversity strategy, get in touch with Nicola Tipping via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can call 028 9043 6400.