23 votes

An Office Designed for Workers With Autism

4 comments

  1. vivaria (edited ) Link
    Thank you for sharing this. I'm really glad to be seeing representation at a level like the NYT. I like the ground this story covers, and it seems to be so thoughtful in doing so. I've been trying...

    Thank you for sharing this. I'm really glad to be seeing representation at a level like the NYT. I like the ground this story covers, and it seems to be so thoughtful in doing so.

    Selling autism as a brand likely perpetuates some generalizations — even stereotypes — in the name of overcoming bias, a complicated compromise, if a strategic one

    I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate this into my own job-hunting strategies.

    I'm utterly awful in interviews -- so much of it seems to come down to in-person rapport. I don't check expected "social norm" boxes naturally, so my mental resources are typically split between A) pretending to not have ASD by mimicking the things a neurotypical person would do, and B) actually answering the questions. With my thoughts in so many places, I've ended up shutting down many times in interviews after losing my train of thought and panicking.

    I've started to think: perhaps if I disclose ahead of time, I might be able to sell whoever is interviewing me on a stereotype of autism. That way, they can focus more on the perceived benefits and less on how I'm functioning socially in the interview. It might also filter out companies who would be biased against me in the workplace. This could prevent inevitably unhealthy work environments, even if I were able to fake my way through the interview process.

    It's a complicated game and I don't really know how to navigate it. If only interviews were held through text chats/emails. I can sort out my thoughts so much easier that way!

    EDIT: The namedropped company, Auticon, has a page on their website devoted to explaining neurodiversity. I think this does a great job at painting autism in a positive light with respect to the workplace. I love it. https://auticon.us/autism/

    12 votes
  2. [2]
    Arishaig Link
    This calls to mind a book I read a while back, Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. It discusses not only autism in the workplace at a fictional company that specializes in hiring people on the...

    This calls to mind a book I read a while back, Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. It discusses not only autism in the workplace at a fictional company that specializes in hiring people on the spectrum, but also explores (as a science fiction novel) how the autistic protagonist deals with the possibility of a "cure".

    It's very interesting to see how at least some of the ideas explored in the book play out in the real world when implemented by a real company. The portrayal in the book is quite different that what is described at Auticon, however.

    Thank you for this article, it was a fascinating read.

    6 votes
    1. mrbig Link Parent
      That’s a wonderful book.

      That’s a wonderful book.

      3 votes
  3. asoftbird Link
    The greatest curse on all with focus problems in office spaces(not just autistic people): open, flexible offices. Give me some walls and a heavy door and productivity goes through the roof. Also...

    The greatest curse on all with focus problems in office spaces(not just autistic people): open, flexible offices.

    Give me some walls and a heavy door and productivity goes through the roof. Also ban heels while we're at it.

    6 votes