Tips for Working with Adults on the Autism Spectrum
This resource was created to support customer service representatives and is accompanied by our Autism
- Be positive, calm and unhurried.
- Take your cues from the person you are supporting. For example, if a person on the autism spectrum seems sensitive to touch, take their lead during the greeting
- Use direct, simple language and allow time for a response. Don’t present too much information at once and avoid the use of idioms; such as “A penny for your thoughts.” Too much extraneous chat may be confusing.
- Outline expectations. Clearly articulate what needs to be done and approximately how long it will take. Indicate when each step is completed. For example: “To apply to this program, I need you to do two things,” or “This will take about 10 minutes. Is that okay?” or “Read this paper, and then sign here.”
- If possible, provide visuals or written materials. If only verbal directions are provided, find a way to ensure the person you are serving understands each step.
- Break tasks into smaller components and set a timeline for completion. When setting goals, be realistic and specific about the steps that will be needed to realize that goal.
- The use of a calendar is ideal to support people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Providing organizational support to assist with planning and prioritization whenever possible is encouraged.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a life-long neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them.
- ASD can affect behaviour, social interactions, and one’s ability to communicate verbally.
- Many persons with ASD may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
- ASD is a spectrum disorder which means that while all people with ASD will experience certain difficulties, the degree to which each person on the spectrum experiences these challenges will be different.
- Challenges associated with ASD may include anxiety, attention deficit disorder, learning disability, executive functioning disorder, intellectual disability or mental health issues.
- According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, approximately 1% of the Canadian population is affected by ASD.