There are plenty of people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who can function fairly well in the workplace — although some need reasonable accommodations to better manage their neurodivergent condition at work.
If you have an ASD, you should understand your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before you decide to disclose your condition to your employer and ask for accommodations. If your employer is subject to the ADA, you have legal protections in place that can help you achieve your goals.
Some of the most common workplace accommodations used by people with an ASD include:
1. Predictable job duties
People with an ASD generally thrive on routines. They often prefer predictable environments and dislike change. Strategies to keep the workplace as consistent as possible, help during transitions when the job duties do change and written guidance to help you keep track of new changes are all good requests that show you’re willing to adapt when necessary — you just need a little help.
2. Minimizing distractions
Finding ways to reduce workplace distractions is another action that can help people with an ASD thrive. A solution to help you cope with normal workplace chatter, for example, might be as simple as letting you wear your headphones and listen to music — as long as it keeps you focused, you’re able to do your job, and the headphones don’t pose a safety issue.
3. Reducing noise
Many people with ASD are extraordinarily sensitive to loud noises because they sometimes suffer from sensory overload. Ways to reduce your exposure to noise might be combined with ways to reduce distractions so that you’re more effective at your job.
Remember: These are just examples of accommodation requests that might be reasonable in your case. If your boss refuses to negotiate with you fairly or discriminates against you because of your disability, make sure that you find out more about your legal options.