By Dr. Heather Hurd
After working for years with adults with Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD), I am convinced that it can be very helpful to share the ASD diagnosis with employers. I have heard concerns about discrimination and being judged for having ASD, but in my experience the benefits of sharing the disorder have far outweighed the disadvantages.
Sharing the disorder can foster a more positive and effective work environment. One example of this is an individual was having a hard time working with some coworkers for years. It is likely that there was miscommunication occurring with nonsocial cues. After I wrote a letter to be shared with this individual’s supervisor and coworkers communication at work improved. There was an increased understanding, acceptance, and support that was not there previously. In fact, the coworker that had started off with the most rocky relationship actually brought in something special to celebrate Autism Awareness Day.