Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism; a neurodevelopmental condition which affects a person’s ability to process information, communicate or socialise with others and make sense of the world in other ways. Asperger’s syndrome is not a disease. It simply means your brain works in a different way to other people.
Careers advice for people with Asperger’s
Having Asperger’s does not affect your ability to work. All people on the autism spectrum should have the support, advice and resources they need to achieve a successful career.
Because your brain functions a little differently to most people, you may face certain difficulties when looking for work or during your employment.
- If you are currently employed, it is important to discuss with the HR team at your place of work any reasonable adjustments that may be beneficial for you. Such accommodations may include providing a written, colour-coded task sheet, or assistance communicating with your colleagues.
- If you are currently unemployed and looking for work, Asperger’s may present additional hurdles to overcome when job hunting. Employers are required to adjust their recruitment processes for people with disabilities, including Asperger’s and autism, to make you feel comfortable and provide any necessary assistance with your interview. Take a look at our dedicated guide to explore the career opportunities available and use our document library to help get started with writing your CV and cover letter.
Advice for employers
People with Asperger’s syndrome make excellent employees. They are often reliable, punctual, professional, have a high level of attention to detail and enjoy working to a set routine.
Understanding the challenges an employee with Asperger’s may face is important. People with Asperger’s often have difficulty learning new tasks and transferring skills from one situation over to another.
If your workplace is not patient with an employee with Asperger’s while they are learning the ropes, they may end up feeling stressed, confused and frustrated. There are numerous strategies which may help ensure an employee with Asperger’s can perform their duties as effectively and successfully in your workplace.
- Provide brief, precise instructions: People with Asperger’s syndrome may face difficulties interpreting instructions. Keep instructions brief, with simple language, avoiding the use of metaphors, sarcasm and colloquialisms. This will help your employee to clearly understand the tasks expected of them. People with Asperger’s may misinterpret information or only hear the beginning and end of the instruction, so it’s also important to confirm they have understood.
- Create structure: People with Asperger’s thrive in a structured environment. They tend to be comfortable following a routine and benefit from predictability.
- Provide visual cues: Providing your employee with a written task sheet is usually preferable to verbal instructions. This may include colour coding instructions into organised and manageable tasks.
- Be patient: Give your employee the time they need to process instructions and complete tasks. Check progress regularly to make sure they are comfortable with their work and provide reassurance whenever necessary.
- Be inclusive: People with Asperger’s often struggle with social skills and behaviours. They may face isolation from their colleagues or be particularly susceptible to peer pressure. Being supportive of your employee as they try to navigate and make friends in your workplace is essential.