Disclosing a diagnosis of autism – should you?

Choosing whether or not to disclose a diagnosis of autism to potential employers can be difficult.  Only 15 percent of adults with autism are currently employed.  Whether this is simply because people with autism struggle to work, or because of prejudice when it comes to hiring, is still a matter for debate.

Everybody, autistic or not, is struggling to find work in the current economic climate. Therefore for every autistic person applying for a job, there are probably many more none- autistic people applying for the same job, meaning that autistic people may be dismissed out-of-hand.  So is it smart for autistic people to say that they have autism, before or during an interview?

Pros

  • Disclosure may mean that the person will get any extra help they need to do the job, but if they don`t disclose they won’t get the help.  There may be all kinds of things that an autistic person might need in order to do their best work.  If their employers knows that they are autistic, then they can cater to that.disclosure
  • Disclosure may limit awkward situations when starting work, for example, not giving eye contact or shaking hands.
  • Improving chances due to positive discrimination; some employers may want to hire somebody with a disability, or learning disability.

Cons

  • A lot of employers may be prejudiced against people they perceive to be disabled.
  • Employers may not be willing to supply the support autistic workers may need.
  • Employers may be worried that customers will be prejudiced, and therefore they will lose customers if they employ somebody with autism.

Deciding whether or not to disclose autism can be a very difficult decision for a lot of autistic people.  Whether or not it is a good thing mostly depends on who is giving the interview, and whether they are prejudiced in any way.  Even though people`s prejudice should not get in the way of employment opportunities, lots of autistic people do report not being able to find work due to their autism.

Whether or not to disclose autism is entirely up to the individual.  They may wish to keep their private life to themselves, and not disclose such information to strangers, or they may feel that it is best to get it out of the way, so that it doesn’t come up once they start the job.

Whatever choice they make may have negative consequences; it is impossible to know how people will react when told that a potential worker has autism, so if an autistic person is going to tell them this, they are taking a gamble on being treated fairly.

Autism Daily Newscast welcomes your comments on this topic below.

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