Accommodations to Support Successful Employment

By: Taryn Oesch – 12/19/2017

Adults with autism and/or intellectual developmental disabilities (autism/IDD) can be successful employees, and providing some reasonable accommodations in the workplace will help. While it’s true that “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” and the accommodations an employee with a disability needs varies person by person, here are some accommodations we’ve seen employers use with success:

Job Coaches

Some employees qualify for job coaches and other support personnel under Medicaid vouchers or vocational rehabilitation. Job coaches can provide role-specific training and career counseling, work with the employer on ways to support the employee, and identify other accommodations that may help the employee.

Job Support Aids

When providing job support materials like instructions, breaking tasks into small, easily understood pieces and using charts, images and color coding can help employees understand them more easily. When providing verbal instructions, speak slowly and clearly, and provide concrete examples. It can also be helpful to provide a written work schedule – and then stick to it.

Accommodations in the Workspace

Many people with autism are sensitive to noise. Allowing employees to wear headphones and/or assigning them to a spot that is quieter can eliminate some distractions and help them focus on their work. If you’re in an office environment, use cubicle walls to minimize visual distractions, and allow employees to change to non-fluorescent lighting, if possible.

Communication Support

Many people with autism have difficulties with communication. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Provide employees with the topics to be discussed in a meeting prior to the meeting date to help them prepare.
  • Allow employees to use email or instant messenger, when appropriate, instead of verbal communication.
  • Provide examples of social cues employees may encounter in the workplace to help them understand what they experience with other people.

These are just a few of the accommodations employers can use to support the success of their employees with autism/IDD. You can always learn more by contacting us at info@thepowerofthedream.org.