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autism at work

This month's live: autism at work. A discussion of autism in the workplace, the obstacles that neurodivergent people face, not just in the interview process, but in continuing and thriving in a job. With special guest Naomi Johnson, who works in the IT sector as a Neurodiversity Consultant. Contact her here: LinkedIn: Studies mentioned:


Unknown Speaker 0:02

Good afternoon, everyone, or good morning, I guess for the Americans and probably good evening for somebody in the world. Welcome back to one of my monthly live streams. And I really hope that you can hear me right now, because I have got a fancy new mic that should have made the sound much, much better. So please let me know, in the comments how the how the sound is actually, because it's a bit of an upgrade, it's a bit of a bit of an upgrade. So today, we are going to be tackling a massive and important topic. And it's so important that I have completely neglected to talk about it at all on my channel thus far. But you know, I'm the sort of perfectionist person that I want to get things right, I want to do them properly. And so I've been putting off doing something about work. And I just thought, No, I have to, I have to do something, because it's a very important topic. It's especially topical at this moment, because, well, for various reasons, but a lot of people have had their work situations changed. People are working more remotely. And so it's just a very interesting conversation. This is no by no means going to be the only video that I do about autism and work. As I've said, I think it's very important. So in a couple of weeks, I'm actually going to have a video about the interview process and kind of interview tips, not just how autistic people can do better, but from the other side, how companies can do better, as well. So I hope that you're into those topics. And if you have any suggestions for other really good topics around work and workplace environment for autistic people, please do let me know in the chatter in the comments or wherever. It's so nice to have so many of you joining me in the afternoon, you'll notice how energized I am how I'm really, really not an evening person. So I'm hoping that I can mess around with the times without excluding too many people. It's really difficult. I know. So somebody says hello from Germany, I suppose. I mean, if you're from Germany, then I guess you are saying hello. We've got Hello from Australia from henlow. I seem that's what you meant by that not Hello. Cool. So it's really great to see you guys again. Autism and work, right? So you Google you Google it. I mean, that's what I do for all my lives. I just I just Google and you know, what comes up first, the National autistic society, statistics, statistics, sorry. So basically, according to the studies that they've done, which they say have remained very static for years, they say only 16% of autistic adult adults are in full time employment. And 32% of autistic adults are in some kind of paid work. Now, with all due respect, I think these figures are really on the low side, I appreciate that. I know autistic people are very underemployed and underused, and just under appreciated in general. But I think that that is very, very low. And I can't really find any information on who they polled. But obviously, if you if you ask certain people, maybe people who have been supported by the National autistic society or their lives, and then you pull them when they're adults, you might get different responses to asking people diagnosed in adulthood. So it's kind of a difficult starting point when you don't know the extent of the problem. So I looked up a couple of studies that have been a few studies done on employment around autistic adults. And

Unknown Speaker 3:49

they're not really really big ones. But there was a study done of 250 autistic adults that found around 60% were employed. And they also found that around those who disclosed that autism were three times more likely to be successful at finding employment, which is very interesting. And, of course, that's fun for those of us in our 30s and older because you can't, or those of us diagnosed in our 30s and older because you can't disclose what you don't know. And under diagnosis is obviously a real barrier, especially to minority groups, women and ethnic minorities who are also under diagnosed. So I found another study from Germany that suggested around 68% were employed. And another one that looked at high functioning autistics, as are their words, not mine, and they found Surprise, surprise that we are over educated and underemployed, which Yes, I probably could have told them but they did a study. So they found and these these ones looking at the high functioning adults, they found 58% unemployment rate actually. So different studies are saying different things. We don't really have a way Scale knowledge of the extent of the problem. But these are the things that we do know, we know that we struggled to enter the job market. And we know that we struggle to stay there. And so that's what I want to talk about today. I know it's a topic that's very important to our well being and success in life, financial stability, or housing stability. So I don't just want to cover it today and then be done with it. And I hope that I can sort of collect some good information and provide some good resources for you guys. But much more pressingly, I have a special guest in the holding pen. Someone I know personally, who is Naomi Johnson, who is an IT professional, and works as a near term neuro diversity consultant. So let me just add Nomi to the to the chat. Let's hope this this works. Good afternoon. Hi. How are them say? Still positioning myself but yeah, we've had, we've had a little rearrangement, but I hope that I can hear you. So I hope that we will have all the tech stuff sorted out and it's all gonna go. So we're gonna go

Unknown Speaker 6:06

the other question is Can everyone else hear me as well? Because we were debating whether everyone else

Unknown Speaker 6:14

I think if I can hear you everyone can hear you. Yeah. So um, would you like to introduce yourself because I you work in it. And you're in neuro diversity consultant. That's like the that's all I know, actually.

Unknown Speaker 6:29

yourself a little bit better for my view is? Yeah, so I mean, potted history is probably a good thing. I was only diagnosed at 37. I'm now 40. So I was diagnosed three years ago. I've been in it for 20 years. I didn't do University. I didn't do a levels. As you can imagine. I'm diagnosed autistic at school. It was Sorry, sorry, green intellectual. My audio is a bit unclear. I'm not sure I can do much about it. I'll try. We're trying.

Unknown Speaker 6:57

Yeah, we were trying to just yeah, just talk slowly and clearly. Yeah, we're having some issues with the headphones.

Unknown Speaker 7:03

Yeah, sorry about that. So yeah, I was undiagnosed. So I went through school, I did my GCSEs. I didn't do a levels, which is the exams at 16 to 18. For those not UK based identity university, I fell into it somewhat randomly, because I knew a bit about it. And a friend of a friend gave me a job. And then I've been there now 20 years working my way through technically, I'm now in a leadership position or have been. So I was leading team technical teams, running a company of the internal it for 500 users. So I've been doing that for quite a long time. It's been a interesting journey over the last three years, because obviously getting my diagnosis whilst employed. And trying to understand all of that trying to understand myself more, has been very good. Quite frankly, it's been good for my confidence. But then I've taken the opinion, especially because I've got a son who's autistic, I've taken the opinion that I should be very open about my autism, I should be very out there about it. We just thought the reason so and I know each other. And therefore I have been doing talks about being autistic in the workplace. I've been doing stand ups in front of people, every time I go to any event from Microsoft or anybody else, I generally get involved in a conversation with somebody that starts off with the technical piece and talking about what I'm doing as a company, and then turning around, and I'm autistic and that waiting for them to go. That's always fun. I enjoy that. But because as one of my slides says, What do you mean, I don't look autistic? Were you expecting Dustin Hoffman? Trying to actually challenge people's opinions of what autism looks like, is part of my fun. I guess in life, I enjoy doing it. And then I enjoy talking about my favorite topic and explaining workplace practice, and how things can be improved and how people can get into the workplace and everything else in between. So that's very potted history of me. Very cool.

Unknown Speaker 9:21

Yeah. You're very inspirational woman, I think, which is why I wanted to have you have you on the show. I'm

Unknown Speaker 9:28

so honest and open and without a filter is probably a better way.

Unknown Speaker 9:35

Yeah, well,

Unknown Speaker 9:36

you're in good company here. You're in good company. So let's just start by talking about being in the workplace and being autistic. And what some of the struggles actually are. Why is the workplace as a whole a tough place for autistic people and what are some of the common struggles that we face not just in your industry, but just in any working environment?

Unknown Speaker 9:58

I think it very much Depends on the environment you're talking about to start with, because obviously, I'm now working in autistic, autistic, I'm working in it. I spent the last five years in an office, which has been fairly open plan, which obviously comes with a lot of sensory issues, I moved up into a leadership position where I therefore spent a lot of time having to have conversations that also involve conflict at times, which is not one of my strong points in life. I lead a team, which means I'm learning about different people's communication styles and working on that for them. So it's been a very interesting challenge, learning about myself, and shine to ensure that I know who I am, because of course, that's the last three years I've tried to figure out actually, worlds turned on its head. Now I know something else about myself. But also then trying to educate people around me. So saying to them, if I wander off, I'm not just demanding the guys to do your work yourselves. It's because actually, I need some time away from this right now. Because I'm overloading trying to ensure that I was making people aware that I'm autistic. And I think that's the hardest challenge for anybody is educating their team, educating the people around them to understand who they are, why they do things in the way they do them. And actually, the competence levels you need or the strength you need sometimes to actually be that open. As far as the challenge, and yeah, because I've been doing it now for 20 years, I'm confident enough in my technical ability and my ability to get a job, that I'm now working on the principle when I apply for jobs, I tell them, I'm autistic, because at the end of the day, if they don't want to know about that statement, then I don't want to work for them. Exactly. Yeah. And I said that's from in a position 20 years worth of exactly, that's 20 years worth of working. And therefore, I do have with an ability to do that to a certain extent, where as I know, at the beginning of my career, that would have been not a choice I could have taken necessarily, you know,

Unknown Speaker 12:18

I'm trying to comment. Oh, sorry. I was just gonna say we've had a comment, which I think was something that we were talking about before about, you know, being in the workplace. So Catherine says, How do I get support at work while awaiting diagnosis, meltdowns and sensory issues take up so much energy, and I feel I can't explain them to anyone without the safety net of a diagnosis. So what are your thoughts on that?

Unknown Speaker 12:42

I don't think you need a diagnosis to a point. I think it depends on your workplace. That's obviously the first one depends on if you've got an HR team, it depends on if you've got an understanding boss, there's a whole host of question mark, I would say try. And if you have somebody within the company that you trust, and you can talk to openly, that's a good starting point, because they can act as your autistic wing man for want of a better term, or wing person, and actually know that they are understanding what's going on with you, if you are struggling, they can cover for you or help you or understand how to help you. That would be a good starting point. Again, like I say, if you have a HR department, they do need to have this conversation they do need to understand. But it may be you get in contact with somebody like me, or you get in contact with somebody you can talk to locally in the area, who can actually help you to explain it to them. Because I know three years ago, I got I know three years ago when I got diagnosed. And the first thing that happened was I went to HR and said, I've got my diagnosis. I know you knew I was getting it. And they said what adaptions do you need and I just sat there looking like stunned fish because of course, I've just got my diagnosis, I have no freaking clue. What does that because I need right now.

Unknown Speaker 14:04

So if somebody what sort of a person would they look for, for obviously, somebody like you or your call the neurodiversity consultant, is that, is that right? I mean, what what do you type? Yeah. To help you.

Unknown Speaker 14:17

It depends on what you're trying to do and what how you're trying to do it. Because at the end of the day, everywhere I've looked so far there is a autism support group or something of that ilk. Admittedly, there are some who are better than others and some who have very different opinions to others. So it's finding one that has the right fit for you and the right expression you want to use and they understand that you want to use the term autistic as opposed to have autism or whatever phraseology you want to be using to make sure you're doing it your way. Yeah. And to make sure that they aren't acting as advocate for you because I had an issue at work where I actually used a neurotypical friend Mine is an advocate. But he and I had a lot of conversations about who I was, what happens in a conflict situation, I'm generally going to go nonverbal to a point or agree with everything cheerfully when I don't necessarily agree with it. And he was there to support me in that and ensure that when I went like that, he would then step in and say, actually, we need a minute or Naomi, do you think that's the right thing for you? Or do it that way to actually ensure I've got a second voice when my voice is not necessarily as prominent as it should be? And therefore, I don't kick myself Two days later, we're having protesters all going What was I thinking?

Unknown Speaker 15:41

I just wanted to point out, because obviously, we have an international kind of audience, a few people in the States, saying, in America, I'm just trying to find a comment, saying in America, basically, you don't have a diagnosis, you don't get any support. And obviously having if you're unemployed, you won't be able to afford the money to get a diagnosis. So it's kind of like, so just wanted to clarify that you obviously, you work in the UK, with with UK kind of law as well, you know, employment law and stuff. So it's a little bit a little bit different in different countries.

Unknown Speaker 16:14

Let's have a talk to some people I know of in the States. And if I could put some answers to that later on for you to put up to your followers. The description on that side? Yeah, yeah. Okay, it was quite interesting to get their opinion, or if there's a sport out there that we're not aware of.

Unknown Speaker 16:32

Yeah, that would be really great. Right, let's So one thing I wanted to discuss was that there are a few places where they have initiatives to employ autistic people, which is great. I mean, a few places, not everywhere, but, um, and a lot of these things, say, oh, like, autistic people are such great employees, because, you know, we have attention to detail with this, this and this, and it's, it's so positive. And you think that's just the like, I know what they're trying to do. They're trying to be like, hey, autistic people are gonna be so great. Just employ them. But do you think that that kind of, I don't know, narrative, or I don't know, really what you'd call it? But do you think that kind of way of talking is damaging?

Unknown Speaker 17:18

Yeah, yes, pigeonholing horribly, I think I certainly I've been discussing with one of my mentors actually about this, because they have a recruitment agency. And it's trying to be honest about it. Because at the end of the day, part of being autistic is being honest. Because we have to be honest about who we are, we have to be honest about the challenges we face, as well as how good we are at certain things, or how we're not good at certain things. And I think I'm not a recruiter, and I'm not a salesperson, by non filter will tell you, I do think the recruiters need to be very good at being open about everything, because otherwise what's going to happen is it's not going to best benefit them or the person being employed. Yeah, I think it's very important to have a very open and honest dialogue. What's been interesting is there's been more of a move from varying places to allow mentors to go in and support both the company and the employee. So for instance, otter Khan, who are down in London, they're in various places, now they employ autistic, it engineers, consultants with a company, they actually go in and they have the engineer themselves, they have a project manager for that engineer, and they have a mentor who supports both the company and the employee, in helping the company understand how to work better with the employee, and how to then also help the employee understand if they're having any hiccups, or if they're having communication problems, or if they're having any issues, how to resolve them. And that's actually been really interesting. And I think any agency who's looking at placing, not just autistic neurodiverse, or anything else between neurodivergent people, it would be really good to have that extra thread to the company that actually has a longer term support. Over six months over a year, however long it takes for that company to adapt, and for that person to be able to be comfortable being open who they are, and have given them an extra voice if they need it. And actually being able to say to them, well, you don't you know, if I'm having a problem sometimes I don't even realize why I'm having that problem. Yeah, only through discussing it with my husband, for instance. And actually going over it, I suddenly go, Oh, I know why I'm having that problem is because of x y Zed. Yeah. And I think sometimes you don't know the answer to any challenges you're having unless you have that conversation with somebody who understands more

Unknown Speaker 20:00

Exactly. Just going back to what you said before, somebody may be Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort. It's getting warm up here. He says if you get that sort of response weren't thinking, think about forming a near diversity group, I've helped run one at work. And people didn't even know the word neuro diversity 12 months ago, now everyone does. And I think that's such a good idea. Because especially if you work in a bigger company, the chances are there will be autistic and ADHD people there like so you know, you won't be alone.

Unknown Speaker 20:31

Now, the other thing is localized networks as well. So for instance, I'm friends with quite a few people within the area, Iman, that we communicate on a regular basis. And I've been getting to women in tech meetings, but now we're having neurodiversity meetings at times, where we can often discuss things, we can all have a conversation about various topics, but we also then can use each other as almost mentor mentees at times, to actually have that ability to sort of try and think your way through probe problems and issues. And that's something we're working on at the moment is I went out to try and find myself a mentor a year ago. And I realized that I needed a very specific skill set, and that I needed somebody who would understand me being autistic, for my leadership mentor. And that's a more challenging thing to find. And it's something I've still been mulling over and I've been talking to some people about is actually how to set up that kind of network for people to then be able to have a mentor, for instance, if you're working it, you could get hold of me or you get hold somebody else, and have a weekly one to one or a monthly one to one or however often it needs to be. And I would buy time to somebody who would possibly further down the chain Junior within it, for instance, who was diagnosed, and therefore help them and they you know, give them my advice. And so similarly, I could have somebody who is more senior to me, giving me advice more famously, I think that would be a very good thing, if you can reach out and talk to people. I mean, we talk Sam and I talk in a group. And we all support each other. And I think that's also very important to times.

Unknown Speaker 22:17

Yeah, definitely having having a support network. Because just I mean, I haven't had like a sort of office job in, well, probably coming up to eight years. Now the last time I was in employed was 2012 when I was back in the UK, actually. So it's only now looking back on that, that I realized just how exhausted I was all the time and night, you know, I just I just couldn't I couldn't function I was I was low functioning at that point, like literally all I did was get through the work day, and then just and then just crash. So I am well aware of how how draining it can be. And, you know, I was not diagnosed, but I was masking a lot. I was trying, I was doing everything I could to fit in and be the person that I thought I was supposed to be. And obviously that kind of leads to burnout eventually. And I think that's why a lot of autistic people struggle to remain in employment because the working conditions are not suitable. And then one thing leads to the other and we just can't function anymore. We can't do it. And people don't really understand that. I think Have you had any experience personally with burnout or not so much.

Unknown Speaker 23:33

I think actually, this situation with COVID is probably the closest I've come but in a very different way in that I was made redundant just before this happened. I'm in the middle of interviews for new role. And my redundancy meant that all of a sudden, I had no routine. And I had none of the routine I have had for the last five years. Then I had my children home all the sudden so I was overloading sensory sensory wise permanently. I have one who's autistic one who's a question mark on the spectrum or not. We had homeschooling to deal with we had not been able to go anywhere or do any of my normal home routine either to a point yeah, shopping day. And that's actually caused me probably a bigger issue than the 20 years I had in work. Yeah, it is.

Unknown Speaker 24:27

I guess it just depends on your your situation really at work, doesn't it? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 24:32

I think needs work. I've always used it as a control mechanism. And we talked about masks and everything else in some ways work was my mask work was the thing that ensured I was doing what I was doing, this is who I am. This is what I defined myself as. This is my what my day looks like and it's structured me and me, and all of a sudden to have that taken away completely as being a real challenge. Yeah, and it's something that I never even thought wouldn't be as much of a challenge as it was.

Unknown Speaker 25:02

But do you think

Unknown Speaker 25:03

that? I mean, there have been a couple of questions about kind of like what a good jobs for autistic people and stuff like that. And like working in it. That's, that's very stereotypical Naomi. I mean, like,

Unknown Speaker 25:20

to bring structure and anatomy originally. So I wasn't finished.

Unknown Speaker 25:25

That's interesting. Yeah. Because, obviously, it that is almost always in an office environment. And typically, nowadays, the open plan offices, some people are talking about open plan offices, which are pretty awful. And hot desking as well, a lot of companies do that, which is like, you can't even have your own stuff anymore. So So what was I getting out? You know, for people who are not maybe in like traditional office environments?

Unknown Speaker 25:59

I think the first thing to do with trying to find a job because it's not necessarily it. I mean, that's just my experience. Yeah, is actually you need to understand who you are and what you want to do. Because I think if I went back 20 years ago, with a diagnosis and knowing what I know, now, I would have been completely filled. is actually and weirdly, for me, it would probably be to do with people in communication. Now, now, you know, totally.

Unknown Speaker 26:30

point though, because when I originally went to university, like I did psychology, I wanted to be a psychologist, because I'm interested in psychology. And like, I never even thought, do I want to actually do the job of a psychologist? Do I want to go into an office or train with the NHS? Do? Do I want to do this. And as soon as I realized what the job would look like, like on an everyday basis, it really wasn't that appealing to many more. So I think it's like, you can be so interested in the subject, but the job might not suit you. You know?

Unknown Speaker 27:04

Yeah, I think trying to find the right job and the right situation for you is so important. And I think part of that is down to a know who you are. But obviously you have to have, you know, the circumstantially when I was 2021, I had to have a job, it was the only way I was going to spend life. Yeah. And you then cannot be picking and choosing at times that struggle with itself. And I think that when you need to try to find the right job with the right people. And it's more about the people at that point you need to do your research into if you're going to be getting a call center job, if you're going to be getting a retail job if you're going to be getting any job that you fit. I think the challenge is also looking at the company looking at their website, looking at the support around them, asking other autistic groups, if anyone has any experience working for those employers, and actually trying to find the one that you know, will be more supportive. Yeah, you know, that's what I'm doing at the moment. Actually. I'm looking around also at who the companies are, if they have neurodiversity structure in place, if they're open about it. If I think it's just a tip sheet on the web page first, it's actually there. They are interested. Yeah. And trying to ensure that I'm going towards the right companies, for me, and the right situations for me. Yeah, I think that's really important nowadays.

Unknown Speaker 28:36

Because Sorry, I was just there was a Super Chat came in with a really interesting question. So let me just go and find that. I can't put it on the screen anymore because it disappeared. Any advice for autistic people stuck in non autism friendly jobs like call center work, or customer service? Do you want to go slow go? Because I think so. Yeah, I mean, like, I have never worked in a call center, because that is literally hell on earth. But when I was a student, when I was younger, I did a lot of temp work. And basically, I was on like the switchboards because that was all I could get. And I needed the money so and so that was kind of like working in a call center. But um, well, my first ever job when I was was 19 was in a car showroom. And my desk was, you know, car showrooms tend to be kind of round my, my desk was actually in the middle. Terrified, 19 year old, it was something and they were like, Okay, well, here's a phone and you know, these phones, like, you know, they're like, buttons everywhere, not user friendly at all. And like, Oh, this is Harold, this is Dave. This is also Dave and I'm just like, and then it was it was the worst. So, advice. I spend my life going, I'm going to get your name. Yes. Okay. So, so Something that I do is I try and talk through my my thought process. So I'm upfront with people that I have difficulty with with auditory processing. I know there might be a bit like, Okay, why are you working the call center, but that's how I coped. I'm like, sorry, I have I have some difficulty hearing today or something, you could say, like my ears. I'm just recovering from an ear infection. I don't know. That's terrible advice. But what I'm trying to say is, like I was I was talking through my difficulties if I had them, so saying, like, I'm Oh, sorry, I'm really bad with names, or I'm really bad with faces, although in the call center, that's maybe not so much. Or just just also, I found like, part of my masking is being overly friendly and nice. And I don't think masking is all bad. Actually, if it helps you keep a job. It can be exhausting, but it does serve a purpose. And it's essential for some, for some people to do. So I guess I kind of got through it, and then just moved on to something as something else's as quick as I could. That's, I'm sorry, that was a really bad answer. I started out really, like, I've got experience, and I realized I had no help.

Unknown Speaker 31:13

No, I think that's right. And I think, you know, being open about who you are doesn't necessarily be mean, saying you're autistic? Like, yeah, you know, you can turn around, say, I'm really rubbish with names, or I do forget names, you'll have to remind me, my poor husband, when he first met me, I used to ask me what people's names were at the bar? And I'd say I'm going to lose, could you introduce yourself and then told me for six years or something cheap? The social stuff for me? I think being aware of and self aware of who you are. And again, we're back to support groups, we're back to talking to other people who are in a similar vein to you. Because actually, so much of my learning curve around who I am has come from the groups I'm in, when all of a sudden, like, Oh, I didn't actually I didn't realize nobody else did.

Unknown Speaker 32:07

Yeah, I didn't realize that was an autism thing. Sometimes.

Unknown Speaker 32:11

Yeah. And that's been so helpful in understanding myself better. Yeah. And trying to ensure that I am, I'm saying why I'm doing things in workplaces and everything else in between, I think the other thing you have to remember is, especially with communication is the pause that you are doing, and it's something public speaking is not as long as you think it is extra thinking time. do be aware that you can pause for a few seconds more than you think you have that time, but also learned to have a bank of key phrases and words that help you if you need more time, or extra questions for somebody that allow you to probe them for more information without necessarily saying I have no idea what you want about. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 33:00

So basically scripting, but that scripting in a very helpful way. And actually, that kind of there's a there's a comment from Voldemort again, saying about call centers worth seeing whether you can transition as well, a friend in the call center transition to web chat, and that involves a lot less social neons. She loves her job so much more when she didn't have to talk. And I think that's a great idea. Because like, I hate talking on the phone and talking to customer service things is is super, super stressful. But I had a I had a website, a web chat with I don't know, I think it was with someone on a hosting for a domain or something like that. And I was like, really like chatting away to this person. I had a great time not as a customer, I mean, and then I was like, Can I can I make it do a referral link for you to like, get your stats up and your monthly stats? I don't know, what am I talking about anyway, but it's easier.

Unknown Speaker 33:55

I think I have a team member who I wasn't sure whether they were neuro diverse or not. I suspected they may have been and they weren't talking about it. And one thing I did with my team was I actually, as a leader had been released a course that talks about different communication styles and different personalities and how different personalities talk to each other. For instance, one personality will be incredibly abrupt. And it's not because they are being abrupt it is because that's the way their brain works. Yeah, just like all of our brains work differently. And they just like getting straight to the point all the time. Yeah. And I rolled that training down to my team so they could start understanding each other. So those personality clashes started slowing down. But also so for instance, they could start understanding Actually, I communicate better on email, I communicate better via web chat. I am far better on a video chat myself. I actually for face to face because I can pick up nuances and I can pick up body language. Whereas if I'm on the phone or in chat, you'll find I use a huge amount of Smiley's lol And everything else in between, purely because I'm trying to make sure that people aren't reading me as abrupt. So they're not reading me as rude or anything else in between. I worry that the nuances of my speeches cannot come across properly in text, because I'm so animated normally when I talk, but also I have it really bad tendencies use a huge web of sarcasm, that can be translated badly, depending on people's sense of humor. I can be really terrible on that one. So yeah, I think I've totally lost track now with you as well, I have totally lost track on communication styles. When he says sells Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 35:40

It all comes down to education, education of employers, education of HR. And like, it's, it's sort of like, I feel like in schools, there's much more focus on this, like it's treated autism near diversity is much more important. And then all of a sudden, you're in the workplace. And it's like, oh, autistic people are getting bullied. That's, that's not important. Because they're adults, they should have grown out of it autistic people who have to stem like, Why are you being Why are you being so childish about it? You know? And so it's like, how other than people like you? And maybe people like me, how do we how do we get this revolution going? How do we educate on a mass scale? So it's not just certain companies?

Unknown Speaker 36:24

It is this it is this kind of talking, it's being open and honest, and educating, which I know, is a challenge for some people, because obviously, being honest, comes with its positives, and its negatives about who you are. For instance, where I am at the moment, there's been a lot of interest in these conversations, we started them probably a year ago. And there's a huge amount of talk about it. Now, within varying companies. There's a lot of adaption going on. I think it's been quite interesting, seeing how it has tumbled on and expanded, you know, because it's a bit like those diagrams, you see of one person, the COVID diagrams, isn't it? Yeah. I think that's part of it. I think. Also, what's been interesting is I've had some people from schools attending some of my talks. And that's been really good to see because it means that the educational side of things are now looking at their neurodiverse children while children, almost adults, and how to help them with working and how to help them find the next job. I had a lot of questions from somebody on there, who was careers advisor. And I think that's been really interesting to see. And I think it's something I want to pursue when I've got a bit more ability to do so is actually communicating with my children's schools with other schools and seeing what else I can do for them to understand more, because, of course, they are very good at, or some of them are very good at additional needs, to the university or the author between within the school system. Children who are within mainstream schools, as opposed to specialist provision is actually a challenge in itself, because of course, they've just been thrown out into the world to university or just in straight into work. Yeah. And a university was probably going to have the extended facility to help them support their workplace. And all of a sudden, they're just going to end up landing in the workspace with possibly no support. And that's a whole new version of things, but it's also the beginnings of their journey. And therefore the beginning of that workplaces journey. Yeah. And I think actually, that's a very good time to start.

Unknown Speaker 38:55

So just carrying on with, you know, whose responsibility it is to educate themselves talking about kind of corporate, corporate or company responsibility. Obviously, you can, everybody can educate themselves for free on the internet. But so then you're in where you land? Yes, exactly. But in terms of, you know, provisions, it costs companies to, to make accommodations often depending on what they are, but you know, it can cost them in time, effort, or just expense. So how can companies see the benefits and how can they better serve the needs of the autistic population without kind of getting into this, but it's gonna cost so much kind of mentality? Like, how do you get people to see the value without just I guess there's a balance isn't there without saying autistic people are so Great, they're good at this, this and this. And then they also need all the support. So how do you present that to companies? To get that balance? Right?

Unknown Speaker 40:09

I think it depends on the company and what they are trying to achieve. I think it depends on if they are putting into your diversity program in place, for instance, because there's very, two very different versions here, there's a company who's hiring a person who's come to them for a job, or there's a company who are actually putting a neuro diversity program in place, which actually means they are investing money they are investing, which is a different scenario. Yeah. I think for those companies who are having a unemploy, a couple of employees, however it goes, I think the first thing is to actually talk to the employee. I think actually having the opinion of the person who needs the support, and the voice, the person who needs this fault is actually paramount. I think it's the most important thing, I think, the HR side of things, hopefully, from what I've seen, there is a lot more discussion within the HR community about this at the moment. I have seen quite a bit going on within my side of things anyway. And then for if you have a good HR department, they will be asking you, if you don't use you probably don't problem with the stick and tell them about you. If you don't have that confidence level, I'd be suggesting possibly talking to appear who can help you with it again, we're back to that side of thing. Yeah, I think finding the right information to send them for you. I actually for my boss, I put together a huge pool of pictograms and means because it was the things that actually I relate to. They shared the entire lot with him. So he got 120 pictures of what I thought that's probably the most artistic thing I've heard all day.

Unknown Speaker 41:55

But yeah,

Unknown Speaker 41:59

I think that means I think autistic people are very like, into means more than the average person maybe I don't know, I just I have some friends that which who you know that we sort of very exclusively communicate in memes. And it's sometimes easier than putting things into words. So that that's, that's actually not a bad idea.

Unknown Speaker 42:22

Actually, it worked for me, because it gave him all the ones that related to me, all the ones that I communicated about and everything else in between that I wanted to explain to him. And in a way he could look through them in his own time, as opposed to me going right, I'm going to tell you everything information to say the challenge.

Unknown Speaker 42:41

But the challenge, of course, for employers is that autistic people are so different. So they with the best of intentions, they can learn about autism, they can go to the non autistic society, and they can learn about what autism is like. And then you meet someone else and you're like, Oh, I don't need that accommodation, you know, and people. The thing is, though, okay, some people are not very good people, but a lot of people do really want to try. And I they get it wrong. And you're just like, Huh, I don't I don't need that. But thanks. So how do you deal with that, trying to tell people that we're all different, and no, I don't need this particular accommodation. But I might need something that you might think is weird

Unknown Speaker 43:21

means. I think the most important thing, actually, from my point of view, was trying to explain the specifics to me, but also ensuring that I wasn't getting offended, which was a challenge in itself, when people pigeon holed me instantly. When I turned around and said, Oh, I'm autistic. And I mean, I had it with a doctor who I had a whole conversation about my son, we got to the end of the conversation, and I said, Oh, and I'm autistic, by the way, you know, I don't know if that has any bearing on everything. And he then decided to write down every dose I needed to give my son of this medicine, what time it was meant to be asked and everything else in between. I just looked him when I can handle all of that. But you know what to see people might not be able to know. Yeah, it was a case of saying to him, Look, if I need provision, I will ask it. But also we need to be able to actually be open to say I don't need the support, but also add on to that. But somebody else might do because you are right. That is possibly somebody else's challenge. And to make sure that we are explaining Autism is a spectrum. Make sure we're explaining one of my biggest ones and I always try and do it is to talk about it. The diagnosis processes or flower sounds really soft. But you'll see is a meme again. Where you've got autism in the middle, and then you have ADHD, you have depression, you have anxiety, you have all of the additional pieces. I use that to explain to people that when they are talking, and I hate the language of apologies, high functioning, low functioning, all of these words I don't like it is because what you're doing is you're looking at autism and adding on all of these petals on the flower, depending on the person's diagnosis. Yeah. And I think that's such an important thing for people to learn that actually, autism itself is the communication condition. And then all the additional pieces make up that person and their diagnosis. Yeah. And therefore you cannot pigeonhole somebody into purely your autistic because that actually has no bearing on what that person's experiences. Yeah, I'm autistic. I have ADHD, I suspect is not diagnosed. I have APD, I suspect is not diagnosed. audio processing disorder. Yeah, I struggle massively. I'm proving abcdefg. For instance, if I'm talking to somebody and I can't see their mouth properly, all of a sudden, I can really struggle to communicate, especially in a noisy room, because I hear everything at the same level. Yeah, so nothing ever fades into the background. So you stick me in the open plan office or somebody, the minute they cover their mouths, I have no idea what I'm saying. It's interesting is sidebar, my husband put a mask on for the first time I took me freaked out because all of a sudden, I couldn't see his face. And it really freaked me out. I had to look at his eyes. And I'd never realized how much I was focusing here. I never even realized, yeah, I had quite a violent physical reaction to turning around and going, I can't take it.

Unknown Speaker 46:46

Yeah, but I totally understand the whole. I don't necessarily lip read, but I definitely use people's mouths as cues to help me understand and help process I mean, when I have the TV on, for example, I, I had subtitles on everything, not not just things that are poorly, you know, the audio is poor, badly edited. And so it's just, oh, sorry, I've got some. Um, so I forgot what I was gonna say now. But yeah, I know, I get that. And this is the thing open plan offices. And a lot of a lot of bosses are like, Oh, no, I don't want you wearing headphones. Because I think a lot of the the objections they have to accommodations for autistic people are based on a kind of slippery slope idea. So it's like, well, if we let you wear headphones, everybody's going to want to wear headphones. And then chaos ensues.

Unknown Speaker 47:36

Challenge is in what environment you're working in, and therefore their reasoning for it. And people who are old school versus people who are new school? Yeah, because for instance, working were in it, where we had a call center. They didn't want the guys in the call center wearing their headphones, because it meant they could interact with each other. And therefore somebody was having an issue that they didn't understand the answer to, they could then speak to the next person along or other people here listening and help each other. Yeah. And I think that was the challenge they were finding is that they didn't want them to be using their headphones, because they felt that it was stopping team communication. Similarly, actually understanding you could do that in a group chat, for instance. Yeah, you've got that I used to throw my entire team into a chat window together, and insist on them talking to each other in there at times. Partly because I had team in India, I had a team in the UK, I have people in different places. And it was the one way to ensure that actually, they're all asking each other questions, as opposed to asking me questions cheerfully all the time, when actually somebody else needs the answer.

Unknown Speaker 48:47

interesting idea of like, it's sometimes you know, we do have kind of, yeah, what's it called, you know, outside the box thinking like, well, we can't help but think outside the box. And sometimes those are the solutions that actually will help everyone because having a group chat, for example, that's not just going to benefit the autistic person, that's gonna benefit. Instead of being able to just ask the person next to you, you can ask the whole team, like maybe the person next to you doesn't know the answer, but the whole team somebody might. So that's kind of like, a lot of these things I do think will benefit everyone.

Unknown Speaker 49:20

I think it's, again, it's back to that conversation we had earlier about communication styles, and it's something I'll try and find some links for you. Because somehow it taught me so much about how different people communicate and therefore how I should tailor my communication for them. But again, as a leader, it's being open, you know, my team know or knew. Now I'm not with them anymore, but my team knew that I was always there to soundboard off and just, you know, but simultaneously, if I had my headphones on or everything else between they'd contact me on messenger. So they wouldn't interrupt me because they may I may be in the middle of a song. process that if they interrupt me, I'm losing half an hour's worth of thoughts. Yeah, you know, it's understanding that side of things, and also ensuring that you're using the people around you at times as a tool to a better term, not to be rude about other people around me. Anyway.

Unknown Speaker 50:24


Unknown Speaker 50:26

so, there have been a few comments like way back, I can't put them on the screen about recruitment. Too much flipping it around recruitment process, and interviews not being able to get to the interview process. I mean, the recruitment process, we were talking about this before, it's kind of peak, its peak neurotypical, it's a bit like dating, isn't it? It's like, there's a lot of unwritten rules. There's a lot of like flirting, I think somebody talked like in recruitment to flirting, it's like, you have to know what not to say and what to say. And nobody tells you actually these rules, but everyone else can work it out. And then we're stuck there going, why am I not getting any interviews? So what do you what are your thoughts on like, recruitment, and that whole process

Unknown Speaker 51:16

is something that I've been talking to people about off and on is how to change that process to make it more accessible. To make it so it isn't, as old school as it always has been. Because recruitment hasn't changed in years, years and years and years. And my first experience of things changing slightly was actually going down to visit a company in London, who sent me an email that had an attachment that had a visual guide to where I was going. And it showed me, this is the tube station exit. This is the road outside, this is the front door of our building, these are the people you may meet, this is the stairwell. And I haven't realized actually how helpful that was to me. Because at the end of the day, I genuinely don't have a huge amount of challenges over that piece of the equation. But actually, it took my anxiety away quite considerably in actually just having that visual reference, it was fairly interesting for me, and it's something I speak to a lot of companies about is actually it just took the anxiety away from going to that interview in the first place. And that one small, tiny change helped enormously. I think the differences at the moment are, we're now having video chats, interviews, my agenda now at the moment on audio or whatever else between That in itself produces a whole set of challenges. Yes. You know, I think there should be a couple of different ways of interviewing, I think it depends very much on what you're talking about. I think you need to have almost the process of a multi quest, multi answer question set that allows you to answer the questions without having that face to face without having somebody in your face talking at you. So it allows you the time to process. Yeah, so for instance, if you're in retail, it can be a selection of questions on how you'd handle a customer or customer service. But you don't have to actually communicate that verbally at that point in time, you can think it through and have a thought process around it. You know, I think that would be a very good way of doing I think, part of HR, the HR and recruiting process should be often how people communicate and what their best way of communicating is.

Unknown Speaker 53:43

Yeah. Is this a thing? Even if, sorry, go ahead. No, um, even if you work in retail, and you in that situation, you might react the appropriate way or the correct way. reacting in that way is completely different from being able to tell the interviewer immediately how you would react. So those are two different skills, even though they sound like they're related, but having somebody say, Okay, well, a customer comes up with a bad item, and they want to return it. And but it's not your policy or something like that. How would you react to that? And if you're, if you're good at your job, and you're in retail, you might just do that. But suddenly being asked, oh, how would I come up with that? And it's a it's a verbal problem, not a situational problem, isn't it?

Unknown Speaker 54:32

I had it with interviews, technical interviews, especially if that when asked a technical question, I could have sat in front of a computer and done what they're asking me to do, but I couldn't verbalize it. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 54:46

People, people. I have that problem too. And I'm sitting here chatting for an hour on the internet, like doing interviews, that's fine. But then somebody asked me a question that I'm not expecting or that is difficult in those high pressure situations. And I have really I struggle to verbalize in that way. So that the verbal thing that kind of it's not really situational mutism or selective mutism. But it's definitely like, there are some situations, we cannot shut me up pretty much like on my YouTube.

Unknown Speaker 55:18

And there are some situations where I can't say anything. And that's a problem. Now, I do have the same issue, I find that when I have that issue, somebody was just saying meetings are so hard. And I totally agree. What will happen is I'll go through a meeting, and I'll come out the other side and a half a day later go, Oh, I really should have put that point forward. I really should have said that. Yeah. And what I generally do at that point nowadays is I put it in an email, and then send it out to the people who are in the meeting attendance, obviously not for an interview process, but for meetings at work. And actually just follow it up with I know, we talked about this, this and this, and have you thought about this, because it occurred to me later on. And I'm just really open about the fact though, I've thought about this after the fact, you know, because I know that with a mix of me being a bit ADHD at times and all over the place to sort it. So you know, I haven't been diagnosed, but I know who I am. And also, the fact that the thought will appear to be due to my processing time, a day later if I'm not careful. But actually, it's very important that I get my input there. And I have my voice heard in a boardroom in a meeting. Because if I don't, and it's back to being a diversity unicorn, as a female in tech as well, at a leadership level, I have to have that voice heard, I can't be the one sitting back and I can't be the one going oh, well, I forgot to say as I won't, you know, I'm very open, I'm very forthright. And like, say I'm in a good position to be able to turn around to people and go, I'm autistic deal with it. And you're going to listen to my opinion, whether you like

Unknown Speaker 56:59

for like for the autistic people who who kind of like do have voices to like, put themselves out there not I don't want to say to speak for other autistic people or speak on their behalf. That's that's kind of like not what I'm getting at. But just like, just so that, you know, people are used to hearing autistic voices. So like the people who are confident and do you who do have the privilege or who had that experience, you know, if we can, I mean, I say that, like, I'm so confident I'm not really but we can lose our voices. And not just to talk about ourselves, but to raise the topic of autism. And so people get used to hearing about it, they start to understand more about it, then we can say okay, well, not everybody's like me, some people can't talk at all in a group setting. Some people will freeze up if they get they get talked to I used to be like that at school. If a teacher asked me a question, I won't be able to say anything.

Unknown Speaker 57:54

I find also taking a pad of paper and a pen into an interview. And I've had people interview with me who've done this and I have no no even blinked. And it means that what they're doing is they're writing down the question, as I'm saying it all the key points of it. And therefore they can look at their notes and protests. And, you know, I've interviewed a lot of people, and I've had people saying, could you just give me a few moments to to have a think about the answer. And I have no issue with them doing that. Because I understand and you have to remember anyone interviewing, you will understand that an interview stressful, and an interview does bring out your nerves and everything else. And therefore, be aware also on the flip side of your nervous that the person interviewing does understand that they will understand and therefore if you want some more time and things they should be able to give it to you. And I think that's also important in itself. Even if you're not disclosing, you can take you know, just different people communicate in different ways. And that's not an issue in the slightest. And I've you know, had interviews with very different people who have either taken piece paper in a pen, I had one guy bring in a whole sheet of notes with him. You know, I don't I don't have an issue with that. So you do what you need to make sure you get through the interview. And actually, I as an interview would find that admirable because it shows that they understand themselves well enough to know what they need.

Unknown Speaker 59:27

Yeah. But you're kind of special kind of interviewer like yeah, I don't think many, many like you. I didn't. Yeah, maybe

Unknown Speaker 59:35

I'm not. We're all individuals. I think I think knowing yourself and preparing for those basic questions is really powerful.

Unknown Speaker 59:50

But how do you deal with the the kind of like what I was talking about the peak neurotypical process, how do you deal with these the unwritten rules of the the unemployment dance, that maybe You don't even understand now. Like, like, if you were younger and you weren't diagnosed, and you're trying to go through all this, like, how, how do you work out what to say when you aren't sure what they're really asking you?

Unknown Speaker 1:00:15

Um, I think there are a couple of different things. Could you elaborate on that, as always a good, we're back to stock phrases again, you know, yeah, could you give me a real life example is another wonderful phrase that you can use to give yourself a bit more time, I really should probably put a lot of this down in paper at some point you and I have to remember to do this being recorded so you can get because actually, it's quite helpful to have those key phrases. And we should probably set up a group or something that actually allows everyone to share key phrases, because there will be some that I haven't thought of, and other people haven't thought of, and they're quite handy, to actually allow you to buy some time to understand the question further. You know, I think that's a really good thing to do. And if you do have a few of those in your head ready to go. From my point of view, if I was going to do that, I'd have to read them about three minutes before I went in, because my recall so terrible, this actually, if I present today, for no chance be remembering. Again, it's being aware of who you are and how you handle things.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:21

Yeah. And I think that's also something that's very difficult because especially if you've masked a lot in your life, like sometimes you actually don't know who you are, I have no idea. You don't know what will help you. And so it's really, I found a lot of value actually, in the in the groups that were a part of, you know, like talking to other autistic people, or just even lurking and like listening to other autistic people and be like, oh, maybe I should try that. Maybe that will help. And like, I've never been because I can't remember them. I've never been one for stock phrases. But I definitely went through a phase where I was trying to, like, well, I actually worked in the careers department for about 10 months. And so like I learned the theory behind how to get jobs and everything like the interview, I learned all the theory and I still couldn't do it. That makes you feel really, really bad about yourself when you like, there is no reason why I'm so bad at this. But I think it's important to remember that we're not actually bad at things. It's the process that is not set up.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:30

For us. You also have to remember percentage wise, when you think you're doing really badly, you have to remember that actually, a percentage of that is competence levels. And therefore you should actually ignore that entirely. Because I had an interview recently, I had an interview my first interview for something two weeks ago, I thought it on abysmally, yes, I got a second interview instantly. And I thought it was gone horrendously. And I think part of it is for anybody not just autistic, but neurotypical as well, is actually throwing caution to the wind. And going you know what? I'm going to be me, again, not saying diagnosis on the ultimately, I am me, I am just going to get on with this. I find sometimes actually interviewing where you don't want the job, or pretending you don't want the job to a point. It's actually a really good way of doing it. Because I feel better when I don't want to go, You know what? I don't care. Yeah, so yeah, I think that's quite a good way of doing it. I mean, I don't know when I'm asking when I'm not I really don't. Because after 37 years for diagnosis, I still have no idea. I could still sit here and realize things from the groups, we chat in everything else go Oh, I didn't realize I did that.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:47

Yeah, and I think it's also like, it's important to remember that you started masking for a reason. And for me, it was very much like I see the reaction. I see what how people react around me to people who are different people who, who do that. So I won't do that. You know, there was there was someone at my school who who was bullied, I was not bullied at school, because the way that I'm asked was to make myself completely invisible.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:16

I was busy, I really was and you I'm sorry, I was bullied at school. Somebody was actually earlier talking about bullying in the workplace. It's something I experienced before my diagnosis, which meant that the way I handled it was not how I would now you know, back then, I kind of just dealt with it curled up in a ball, metaphorically speaking, and sort of put my head down and just kept going. Yeah. Whereas nowadays, I think I'd probably handled it very differently. Yeah, that's again, when you start

Unknown Speaker 1:04:51

to believe the things that people tell you about yourself, because it's not just the bullies who say those things. It's kind of society, isn't it like society makes you feel like you're wrong. So when people bully you, it's almost like you think, Well, they've got a point or something like so you really internalize it. And I think that's why it's so it's so hard for us.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:09

My husband, my husband is still working with me on stopping me apologizing for everything. I feel now apologize permanently for everything even, you know, he could drop a glass and smashed and I'd say I'm really sorry.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:24

I'm actually working on that with emails, because emails are really a weakness of mine. And I apologize if any of the viewers have ever sent me an email I haven't responded to because it just now I get too many. I literally just can't and but so I there are lots of emails that I put off because I just I can't work out how to do them, and I put them off. And then it's embarrassing amount of time later. But I just I, I've stopped myself apologizing. And instead of apologizing, I've started saying, Thank you for your patience. And it Do you know what, it doesn't just make a difference to them. It actually makes me feel less crap about myself, because it's not like, Oh, I'm sorry, I'm just, I'm, I'm make up some lies or whatever. I've just everything's so Oh, it's like, thank you for your patience. I am acknowledging that this is late. But I'm not making myself feel bad about it. Because I don't need to feel. You know, you don't need to apologize to somebody for not communicating in a time. If you are communicating the time frame you're able to do so. Yeah. And sometimes that timeframe is six weeks. But I'm also autistic, and Okay, I don't care how many people say how high functioning I am I like sometimes I'm not using that. But no, I'm saying like I am not? No, I mean, it's very obvious to people when they try and communicate with me on that kind of a level that sometimes I'm, you know,

Unknown Speaker 1:06:46

I put something on the bottom of my emails on my signature that says I will be getting back to you as soon as I can do but please bear with me. You know, because actually, that means that they don't start chasing you ad nauseum. And they don't start really hassling you for answers. One or two people who have done that have generally got the short end of my conversation, and I've sat there going well, I will come back to you when I'm ready. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:10

But the thing is that so much is now being done online, as opposed to not face to face. But it's it's weird, you would have expected I would have expected more phone calls. But actually everybody wants to see you. So video chats are kind of like, Alright, for me, like they're okay. Certainly with people that I like, you know, it's just people I don't like. But it's it's interesting how the current situation has kind of shifted, what is possible, all of a sudden, all these accommodations that were not possible. Now everybody needs them, suddenly, we can all work from home, we can all well, we can't but you know, we all of this stuff is being set up for the neurotypical majority.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:54

And I think it'll be interesting to see the world moving forward after this. Because accommodation is going to be a completely different word I think from it was four months ago. Because companies have had to learn that actually, to drop those shackles of the old school and that everything doesn't have to revolve around the office instantly. And that's been quite interesting. What has also been interesting, as I think we're going to see more and more working from home. And I think it means that actually, if we can get the HR process changed, workplace may well become a far better environmental, more accommodating environment to us who are autistic. Because I'm already hearing about companies who are looking at dropping real estate and having people work from home because they realize that the financial savings they can have. Yeah. So there are definitely people who are already looking at their workforce, or the majority of it working from home is based in office, which really will change things, but it will also the longer term, I think change the global outlook for jobs as well. Because all of a sudden, you could have people working on different continents, or communicating via chat by web by an email, and working on the same team and opened up a hugely different marketplace that points to jobs, which will be really interesting. I think that's a longer term view, not a short term view.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:22

And I think it's also it's right now we have a great opportunity. We I mean like people like you have a great opportunity to say like okay, we don't have to go back to the way things was we can we can move forward. And you can see remember that time we all worked from home for four months. Yeah, exactly. Or why can't these people still do it? So it's kind of like an interesting opportunity that we could capitalize on capitalized, maybe the wrong word, but you know, I think while the iron is hot,

Unknown Speaker 1:09:56

I think it is the right word. I think it so I'm saying that companies now can't hide behind, not helping, and not being accommodating. Because it's been proven it works. It's been proven they have to be able to they can do it because I've had to do it. Yeah. And I think that'll make a huge difference. To be honest.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:18

Places like Oxford universe, I think Oxford University announced that for the whole year, they're going to have stuff available online. Yeah. I mean, disabled students there have been asking for these accommodations for years. I can't imagine how annoyed they must be, quite frankly,

Unknown Speaker 1:10:34

you know, I think we've got to pay it. But bear in mind, though, that that what has happened, for instance, at the university, what's happened with some of these companies is the shift they have done, actually, there will be a huge cost to the company, it's been done very quickly, but they have, if you think about University, for instance, all of a sudden, the reason they are able to do it is all of their lectures are now live. Yeah, set that up as being I suspect the IT people in the background have had a hideous turn of luck. You know, the company I worked for actually was fairly well prepared for this, because they have something called business continuity set up because they were 24. Seven operation, everybody used a laptop. So we'd already put in place, this kind of eventuality, so everyone literally just went home and worked. But the majority of companies universities in the US will not have had something like that planned, they wouldn't have pandemic training, put in, set up put in place. So much as Yes, it is possible. I think it's, it's actually been a very good thing. It's had to give him a short, sharp shock to do it all. And the expenses to the business will have been fairly horrendous, depending on the business. But it going forward? It'll be fantastic for all of us. Yeah, well, I don't think we can necessarily be angry at them for not putting it in place at the beginning of things. Because I think it takes an adjustment of understanding and it was coming with some companies were definitely the youngest companies to startups, the younger tech companies all have this in place and already doing this. Yeah. It's the more old school like you say, the universities and things. And I think for them to shift their entire workload to online. Actually, it's been very impressive, to be honest, in this time, and to be able to get all of those lectures set up all because at the end of the day, you're going to be talking to some people who are very technical. And you've got a whole bunch of users who wouldn't have a clue about how to even turn the computer on at home. Yeah, nevermind, do an online lecture. That's it in itself has been probably a huge challenge. But now it's there, it's there. And there's no going back from it, which I think is going to be the most amazing thing for all of us. Yeah. You know, but with that comes its own challenges, like I said earlier about things like communication styles. People who have always been in the office or extroverts who like talking to people all of a sudden will be very isolated. And they will be struggling to cope with work all the sudden, whereas those of us who like sitting at home cheerfully on the sofa curled up in a ball working

Unknown Speaker 1:13:21

with a dog.

Unknown Speaker 1:13:25

And I think that's actually important to recognize as well that much that will make us very happy, it may actually pull in challenges to other people. We've got to start looking at how we accommodate the workforce as a whole through that transition as well. Yeah, and to ensure that everybody is working together, they're able to work together, relationships don't break down because they don't have the day to day. Silly conversations about how you kept doing or what your dog was up to what things you know, I used to bring my team biscuits on a regular basis as motivation. All the sudden I can't be giving them biscuits every week. How am I baking my team if I can't feed them. There's a whole in the opposite direction. There's a whole challenge in itself to this as well. taken into card accommodation from a neurotypical as well as an autistic perspective. Yeah, yeah, no, it's

Unknown Speaker 1:14:24

a it's a very, it's a very complicated subject, because not only you're trying to make your workforce happy, well, I hope hopefully they are, but but you're trying to make all kinds of autistic people happy. And, you know, all kinds of ADHD people happy and it's just like it's so complicated, and it's so difficult, but I guess the important thing is that, that they try and that we try to go forward. We try to educate as much as we can without being like well, this is how it is for me. So this Just how it should be for everyone.

Unknown Speaker 1:15:02

That balance it is that balance of understand, and it's something that I see in some of the groups at times is that is back to communication, understanding other people's opinions and seeing other people's thoughts and how they're feeling about it. And that is something that can be a challenge at times, is actually seeing both sides of the story. And I think because of my late diagnosis, I'm probably in a good position with that in some ways, purely because I've had to work both sides of the coin, and my diagnosis came so late on that I'm now understanding myself, I've done so much research into it. But actually, I know what it was like beforehand. And I know that side as well, which has been quite interesting. And I'm in a position where I see the business needs as well, which is also different. And I think sometimes businesses don't necessarily explain why it's a bit like parenting. If you say, No, you can't, but you don't explain why you can't. Yeah, and actually, that's important, as well as a business to elaborate not only on, you know, you can work from home, but the reasons why to make sure they make sense for that person. And that person says Why? Because otherwise there's gonna be resentment. Exactly. Yeah. It's a bit like the headset scenario. You can't wear headset, why can't I wear it? Because I want people in the TV children and other dads that are but if you don't have that extra phrase, yeah. You know, you're just saying no, you can't without actually explaining it. And that in itself is parenting, you know? Yeah. parenting. Parenting as leadership. Yeah. I mean, the thing is, I

Unknown Speaker 1:16:42

actually parent kind of like that. I know, some parents were just like, No, you can't. And you know, my kids, like, I want to watch TV. And I'm like, you know, we can't watch TV all the time. Because it sets a very dangerous precedent, and you will be reduced, you know, like, so I'm that kind of parent.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:01

No, no, just as a heads up, might have to have just walked in. Alright.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:08

Fine, I, you know, I think we have, we've, we've got through a lot today. And you obviously, like, we have so much more to talk about, but I'm gonna I mean, it's 430 I'm gonna need to start thinking about parenting myself. And dinner and, you know, are these things. But thank you so much for coming on. It's been really great to talk to you. And I hope it has been helpful for for the viewers.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:36

So much more we could talk about as well. I mean, I know my email address up for them all. So they can ask me questions.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:43

I will all go back. If you send me those links to your contacts and your email address, I will put the description box or you know, somebody wants to private message me I can. Yeah, if you want to know then then look in the description box for this, this video here. And that's, that's where it's going to be posted. And what else am I gonna say? Yeah, we've got a couple of weeks, we've got a an a video on interviews, where I'll be talking to a woman from a recruitment agency for autistic people, she set that up, and it's very cool. So we're going to be diving in specifically to the kind of the interview stuff. So yeah, I I have, I have started the important topic. I've jumped in and and, and we'll see, we'll see what people are interested in from here. As well, it's a favorite topic of mine. And of course, if you have any questions, the live chats gonna go off as soon as we go off, but if you comment on the actual video, once the video is kind of like processed, you can you can ask comments there and I will try and have a look at them and I'll try and answer them as well. So thank you, Naomi, for coming on. And thank you everybody for watching. Hope you have a great Saturday, you can still see how much energy I have because I'm not doing it at like nine o'clock at night. So I'm like, I'm so energetic now. This is the ADHD kind of treats coming out. So yeah, take care everyone and I'll see you next time by end the broadcast

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"In 'The Startup Balance,' watch a tech founder and a business-minded employee learn to harmoniously blend innovation and stability with the help of a wise mentor. Discover the key to startup success