The challenges of the labour market for autistic people

Autism

In recent years, companies have realized the need to invest more and more in diversity and inclusion, after all, a more plural environment for all is fundamental for the construction of a fairer society.

When considering this scenario, you may have already wondered how the labour market works for autistic people and the importance of promoting the inclusion of these people in an assertive and respectful way.

In this article, we will explain more about what autism is, its main variations and the most common signs. It's worth checking it out!

What is autism and what are its main variations?

Scientifically, autism is known as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a disorder in the neurological development of the child that can cause alterations in communication, difficulty or absence of social interaction and changes in behaviour.

In general, autism tends to be identified between 12 and 24 months of a baby's life. People with autism can present specific characteristics:

Maintain little or no eye contact

Difficulty speaking or expressing ideas and feelings

Discomfort in social interaction

Repetitive behaviours

It is worth pointing out that each person has their own particularities, that is, there is no absolute rule for everyone.

Besides, autism is not considered a disease, but a different way of expressing and reacting. And, because it is not a disease, there is no cure and it does not get worse with age. However, as with any diagnosis, the earlier it is made and treatment is started, the better the possibilities for quality of life and autonomy of the person.

Autism and the particularities of each level

To understand the levels of autism and its peculiarities, there is a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) classification, which establishes the levels of intensity in autism.

The diagnosis of ASD is categorised by levels of support need, as there may be difficulties in communication, social skills and restricted or repetitive behaviours.

This classification is key to identifying the level of severity. There are three autism support levels: level 1, 2 and 3, which show how autism can affect people's social skills and behaviour.

Support level 1: Mild Autism
People who fall under level 1 ASD, (Asperger's Syndrome does since early 2022), may have difficulties in social situations, restrictive and repetitive behaviours, but require only minimal support to help them with their day to day activities.

Support level 2: Moderate Autism
People with support level 2 need more support than those with support level 1. This is an intermediate range of ASD in terms of greater intensity of traits and need for support, as they may exhibit restrictive and repetitive behaviors.

Support level 3: Severe autism
People with level 3 autism need more support as it is the most intense form of ASD. People with level 3 have significant difficulty with communication and social skills, as well as having restrictive and repetitive behaviours that hinder their independent functioning in everyday activities.

Job market for people with Autism

Entering the labour market is fundamental for anyone to be independent, not only financially, but also to achieve autonomy and freedom to fulfil their dreams and achieve their personal goals.

With people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) it is no different. However, what changes are the challenges in the labour market. Even though people with ASD develop their potential early on, there is still a lot of lack of information and prejudice, which can hinder the opportunities for an autistic person to get a job and stay in the labour market.

I chatted with Gabi on the topic, our UX/UI Designer, who has been diagnosed with ASD. Check out her testimonial:

"Before the diagnosis, it was always very complicated to understand the dynamics of the labour market. Even though I've worked in such diverse areas, it was always difficult to distinguish what is real behaviour or when someone is 'faking it', which made me believe many things that weren't exactly real, generating a lot of mental confusion. So I ended up choosing to work as a freelancer. The contact was controlled, they didn't get involved with "politicking" so as not to waste time".

Gabriela Bechara Zillig (UX/UI Designer)

To get a job, an adult with autism will likely go through more obstacles, tests To get a job, an adult with autism will likely go through more obstacles, tests and additional assessments. In addition, signs of autism can become a hindrance in many work-related situations. Therefore, it is crucial that companies are prepared to welcome these people and provide a welcoming and respectful environment.

"I work remotely at levva, so this helps a lot with sensory wear and tear (I only understood this last year). My colleagues are wonderful, after I felt comfortable to expose that I am autistic I got a mega incentive! They were super interested in the subject. Until then, I say that because Levva does not have the profile of an old company, everyone is very dynamic and are direct in what they think and want without losing respect for others. And don't forget the autistic hyperfocus, this is extremely beneficial for the company (laughs)."

Gabriela Bechara Zillig (UX/UI Designer)

Regardless of the company you are considering joining, don't be afraid or ashamed to expose your condition as autistic.

Respect is a fundamental principle and having transparency at all hiring stages is essential to avoid unpleasant situations in the future.

Always be proud of who you are!

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