Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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Understanding autism

5.2 Support for employment

The NAS has some support centres across the UK and an outreach team that aims to assist with preparing for work, for instance by building on social and practical skills, confidence and experience, as well as CV writing. However, because it is a charity, such support centres are few, and many people do not have access to them. The NAS also offers advice and training for employers on understanding autism and how to manage people with autism.

There are also commercial companies that help autistic people into meaningful and productive employment. At Specialisterne, which started in Denmark and now operates in 11 different countries (although not the UK), employees are found work as business consultants on tasks such as software testing, programming and data entry for the public and private sectors. Auticon has bases in London and Munich, and works on similar principles. Their employees are all on the autism spectrum and work as consultants for various clients, with a job coach who gets to know the consultant and their capabilities, assesses the work environment for any reasonable adjustments that could be made, acts as a mediator and may initially help the autistic person with travelling to and from the job.

Autistic people have many skills to offer in the workplace, and simple respect and friendship from fellow employees may be as important to well-being as specific support measures. In this clip Alex talks about his very positive experiences of working part-time in a bookmakers:

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_aut_1_video_week7_5_alex.mp4
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Transcript

ILONA:
Can you tell me about your new job?
ALEX:
Oh, yeah. I started working at William Hill about three weeks ago. And I really enjoyed it so far. I've got a team of people I'm working with.
ILONA:
William Hill is the betting?
ALEX:
The bookmakers, yeah.
ILONA:
Bookmakers?
ALEX:
Yeah.
ILONA:
So what do you do with them?
ALEX:
I take bets. And I do that sort of thing, put them on the computer, as well.
ILONA:
And what do you find particularly interesting about it?
ALEX:
I like, you know, all the odds and that. I enjoy having a bit of a bet myself, to be fair. But yeah-- I think it's because there's a lot of maths involved in that. And I like maths.
And that's why I went for it. And also, I also thought, as well, 'cause you're interacting with customers, it will help improve my social skills. And I've told all my colleagues about being autistic and they were fine with it, you know.
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