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How to Work with Colleagues with Autism and ADHD

How to Work with Colleagues with Autism and ADHD

Kara Thurkettle

October 10, 2023
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  1. How to Work with Colleagues
    with Autism & ADHD
    We're strategic data-led
    eCommerce SEO specialists

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  2. @5minutesnippets
    What are some
    key things to
    know?

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  3. @5minutesnippets
    #1. There is
    gender bias in
    diagnostic criteria
    for these
    conditions.

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  4. @5minutesnippets
    #2. People
    socialised as female
    with ASD/ADHD
    mask and
    camouflage.

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  5. @5minutesnippets

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  6. @5minutesnippets
    #4. Co-occurring
    conditions is very
    common causing
    misdiagnosis.

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  7. @5minutesnippets
    #5. Some
    individuals have
    less obvious
    repetitive
    behaviours.

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  8. @5minutesnippets
    #6. There is often a
    misinterpretation
    of social
    difficulties.

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  9. @5minutesnippets
    How can you
    create an
    Inclusive
    Workplace?

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  10. Promote Open
    Communication
    #1
    @5minutesnippets

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  11. Encourage
    Understanding
    #2
    @5minutesnippets

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  12. Provide
    Flexibility in
    Work
    Arrangements
    #3
    @5minutesnippets

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  13. Provide
    Accessible
    Communication
    Tools
    #4
    @5minutesnippets

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  14. Provide Sensory
    Friendly
    Workspaces
    #5
    @5minutesnippets

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  15. Provide
    Training and
    Awareness
    Programmes
    #6
    @5minutesnippets

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  16. @5minutesnippets
    What are some
    Communication
    Strategies you
    should use with the
    AuDHD colleagues?

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  17. Use clear and
    explicit
    instructions.
    #1
    @5minutesnippets
    Wrong
    Instruction
    Right Instruction
    Please complete a
    blog audit for X
    client.
    Please complete a blog audit for x client..
    The audit itself should take you a max of 4 hours. If
    you have to do any learning and development or
    training for this please let me know or if you are self
    training, track your time in training.
    The blog audit needs to be a date range of the last
    year and include: organic sessions, number of
    keywords each page is ranking for, clicks and
    impressions as well as revenue if it’s relevant for
    each blog.
    Once you have this data, you need to:
    ● Identify which blogs to re-optimise
    ● Identify which blogs to get rid of

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  18. Minimise
    sensory
    overload.
    #2 Idea Description
    Open Communication
    Encourage discussions about sensory sensitivities, triggers, and preferences with
    autistic colleagues.
    Sensory-Friendly
    Workspace Create a workspace with neutral colors, noise-canceling headphones, and soft lighting.
    Quiet Spaces
    Designate quiet areas free from distractions and sensory triggers for relaxation and
    recharge.
    Flexible Work
    Arrangements Offer adjustable work hours and remote work options to accommodate sensory needs.
    Noise Control Implement noise reduction measures like acoustic panels, rugs, and quiet zones.
    Clear Communication
    Use written communication, visual aids, and clear instructions to enhance
    understanding.
    Sensory-Friendly Meetings
    Plan meetings with agendas, minimal distractions, and opportunities for breaks if
    needed.
    Sensory-Friendly Tools Provide ergonomic furniture, noise-cancelling headsets, and adjustable lighting.
    Sensory Awareness
    Training Conduct training to promote understanding and empathy among team members.
    Sensory-Friendly Events Organize team events and activities in sensory-friendly venues with advance notices.
    Accommodation Policies
    Ensure clear accommodation policies and encourage colleagues to request
    accommodations.
    Empathy and Respect
    Cultivate a culture of empathy and respect for diverse sensory needs among team
    members.
    Sensory Breaks
    Allow for short sensory breaks during the workday to manage overload and enhance
    well-being.

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  19. Use visual aids
    and written
    communication.
    #3
    Workplace Scenario Visual Supports Examples of Visual Aids
    Interview or Trial Work Experience Visual Schedule
    - A schedule with pictures or symbols outlining
    the agenda.
    - Social Story explaining what to expect.
    Transportation to and from the Job Visual Schedule
    - A visual schedule showing steps from home to
    work.
    - Visual map with landmarks and directions.
    Preparation for the Job Job Task Cards
    - Step-by-step task cards with visual instructions.
    - Videos or pictures demonstrating job tasks.
    Preparation for the Job
    Visual Supports for
    Training
    - Visual demonstrations of job duties and
    expectations.
    - Visual checklist for daily preparation.
    Initial Days/Weeks of the Job Visual Schedule
    - Daily routines and job tasks outlined visually.
    - Visual cues for workplace rules and norms.
    Initial Days/Weeks of the Job
    Visual Rules and
    Expectations
    - Visual reminders of workplace rules and
    expectations.
    - Visual support person cues for communication.
    Changes in the Workplace Visual Announcements
    - Notices with visuals to inform about workplace
    changes.
    - Transition supports with visuals.
    Changes in the Workplace
    Visual Supports for
    Transition
    - Visual aids to ease individuals into new routines.
    Ongoing Supports Visual Reminders
    - Continued use of visual schedules and
    reminders.
    - Visual cues for social interactions.
    Ongoing Supports Email Communication
    - Email as a written communication tool for
    clarity.
    Ongoing Supports
    Visual Supports for Social
    Interaction
    - Visual cues or cards to assist in social
    interactions.

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  20. Help us set
    clear priorities
    at the
    beginning of
    each week.
    #4 Tool How can you use it?
    Project
    Management
    Software
    Ensure that things you want us to do are in the project
    management software because we may forget what you
    said to us.
    Briefing
    Ensure you have given us our briefs ahead of time in case
    we need to process or we have questions.
    Estimate Our
    Time for Us
    We may struggle estimating time. If you tell us how long it
    should take - the parameters of the time estimate can help
    us meet that time. Be strict. If we are slow - give us tips to
    speed up.
    Be Specific with
    Deadlines
    All deadlines should be final to keep us from procrastinating.
    Help us Remove
    Priorities
    Ask us for a list of our priorities and tell us which things are
    not a priority if we are having difficulty.

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  21. Use concise and
    structured
    communication.
    #5
    @5minutesnippets
    https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance
    /topics/communication/tips

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  22. @5minutesnippets
    PLEASE USE MEETING AGENDAS
    and send them ahead of time to
    give us time to process the
    information.

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  23. Provide regular
    feedback and
    actions with
    clear examples
    of issues and
    improvement.
    #6
    @5minutesnippets
    Area of Improvement Constructive Feedback
    Time Management
    - "I've noticed that you sometimes struggle with meeting deadlines. To improve
    your time management, consider setting specific goals and deadlines for each
    task and use tools like calendars or task lists to help you stay organized."
    - "It's important to prioritize tasks effectively. Try categorizing your tasks into
    'urgent,' 'important,' and 'nice to have' to allocate your time more efficiently."
    - "Consider using alarms or reminders on your phone or computer to help you
    stay on track with your schedule."
    Account Management
    - "In your account management role, it's crucial to keep accurate records of
    client interactions and transactions. Double-check your entries to ensure
    accuracy."
    - "When managing accounts, maintain clear and organized documentation.
    Create a system or checklist to track your progress and ensure nothing is
    missed."
    - "If you're uncertain about any account details or procedures, don't hesitate to
    ask for clarification or additional training."
    Client Communication
    - "Effective communication with clients is key. Always be attentive and listen
    actively to their needs and concerns."
    - "When communicating with clients, it's important to provide clear and concise
    information. Avoid jargon or technical terms if they might be confusing."
    - "If you find face-to-face or phone conversations challenging, consider using
    written communication like email to ensure clarity and accuracy."
    - "Take notes during client meetings to help you remember important details
    and action items."

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  24. Do not use the
    feedback
    sandwich
    method when
    giving
    constructive
    feedback.
    #7 Feedback Challenge Explanation
    Difficulty Processing Mixed Messages
    Autistic individuals prefer clear and direct communication, making it
    challenging for them to interpret the mixed messages in a feedback
    sandwich format.
    Lack of Clarity
    Reading nonverbal cues and social nuances can be difficult for autistic
    individuals, and the feedback sandwich relies on implied or indirect
    communication.
    Dishonesty
    The feedback sandwich can lead to insincere feedback if positive
    comments are included solely to balance negative feedback, potentially
    eroding trust.
    Focus on Negativity
    The sandwich technique may draw more attention to negative feedback,
    making it seem more significant, whereas straightforward feedback is
    often preferred.
    Overemphasis on Praise
    Excessive positive feedback in the sandwich can dilute the impact of
    constructive criticism, which may not be as effective for autistic
    individuals.
    Inconsistent Messages
    Autistic individuals thrive on consistency and clarity, and receiving
    feedback in varying formats can create confusion and uncertainty.
    Preference for Specific Feedback
    Autistic individuals benefit from detailed, specific feedback to understand
    what they did well and areas where they need improvement.

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  25. Understand our
    tone of voice
    and know it’s
    okay to let us
    know if we’ve
    interrupted.
    #8
    @5minutesnippets

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  26. @5minutesnippets
    If we interrupt you… simply say…
    Hey “name”, I wasn’t finished
    speaking yet give x more minutes
    and then you can speak. (It’s not
    rude to an Autistic person. We
    will not get mad.)

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  27. Understand
    why we ask
    direct
    questions and
    respond to
    statements in
    the way we do.
    #9 Motive Explanation
    Information Gathering
    Autistic individuals often ask questions to seek clarity, obtain factual details, or
    enhance their understanding of a topic. Their questions reflect a genuine desire to
    learn.
    Directness
    The direct and straightforward communication style of autistic individuals is not
    intended to be rude but is driven by a preference for clear and efficient
    communication.
    Honesty
    Autistic individuals value honesty and authenticity in their interactions, so their
    questions may lack flattery or euphemisms, focusing on sincerity and truthfulness.
    Avoiding Ambiguity
    Questions from individuals with ASD aim to reduce ambiguity and ensure clarity,
    addressing their discomfort with uncertainty or vagueness.
    Expressing Interest
    Questions can also serve as a means of expressing genuine interest in a subject or
    topic, despite the absence of typical social expressions of interest.
    Problem-Solving
    Autistic individuals may use questions to facilitate problem-solving or
    troubleshooting, seeking to identify solutions or address issues efficiently.

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  28. @5minutesnippets
    Communication Category Description
    Perceived Challenge
    Some neurotypical individuals may interpret the asking of additional questions or the
    presentation of facts as a challenge to their knowledge or viewpoint, even when it is not
    intended as such. This can lead to them perceiving the autistic person as defensive.
    Social Norms
    Neurotypical individuals often adhere to social norms that prioritize smooth, reciprocal, and
    concise communication. When an autistic person diverges from these norms by providing
    extensive information or asking many questions, it can be seen as unconventional or even
    confrontational.
    Lack of Emotional Expression or Overwhelming Emotion
    Autistic individuals may have difficulty expressing their emotions or intentions in ways that
    neurotypical individuals easily understand. This can lead to misunderstandings, with NTs
    interpreting an autistic person's behavior as defensive when, in reality, they may be seeking
    clarification or expressing genuine curiosity.
    Sensory Overload
    Autistic individuals may experience sensory sensitivities that can impact their
    communication style. When overwhelmed, they may resort to more direct or focused
    communication, which NTs might misinterpret as defensive or curt.
    Miscommunication of Intentions
    Autistic individuals may struggle to convey their intentions accurately through non-verbal
    cues or tone of voice. Without these typical social cues, NTs might misinterpret the autistic
    person's intentions and emotions in a conversation.
    Autistic people are often called “rude” and “defensive”. This is not
    uncommon - but we are not being this way intentionally, your NT
    social norms have deemed our behaviour in this way..

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  29. @5minutesnippets
    We will never ask you questions for these reasons - don’t assume that is what we are doing.
    Negative Questioning Technique Description Challenges for Autistic Individuals
    Leading Questions
    Questions that manipulate or coerce someone into giving a specific desired
    response.
    Difficulty in using manipulative tactics, as autistic individuals often
    prefer direct and honest communication.
    Interrogation
    Aggressive or accusatory questioning used to intimidate or make someone
    uncomfortable.
    May struggle with aggressive communication styles and prefer more
    neutral or calm interactions.
    Sarcasm
    Use of sarcastic questions to mock or ridicule someone, potentially causing
    hurt and undermining communication.
    Challenges in using sarcasm due to difficulty in recognizing and
    conveying sarcasm effectively.
    Loaded Questions
    Questions with underlying assumptions or biases designed to corner the
    person into a specific response.
    Difficulty in constructing loaded questions because of a preference
    for clarity and precision in communication.
    Gaslighting
    Questions that make someone doubt their own perception of reality or
    manipulate them into questioning their thoughts or experiences.
    Typically not a preferred or ethical communication style for many
    autistic individuals.
    Belittling Questions
    Questions that belittle or demean someone, often used as a form of
    humiliation.
    May avoid using belittling questions as it goes against their
    preference for respectful communication.
    Defensive Questions
    Responding to criticism with questions that deflect responsibility or blame
    onto the other person.
    Difficulty in using defensive questions because it may not align with
    their communication style.
    Cross-Examination
    Treating a conversation like a courtroom cross-examination, aiming to catch
    the other person in contradictions or inconsistencies rather than seeking
    understanding.
    May not find the confrontational nature of cross-examination suitable
    for their communication style.
    Undermining Confidence
    Questions designed to undermine someone's confidence or self-esteem, often
    in a condescending manner.
    Autistic individuals may avoid undermining confidence as they tend
    to value positive and respectful interactions.
    Gossiping Questions
    Invasive or prying questions about someone's personal life, used to spread
    rumors or gather information to use against them.
    Autistic individuals may find gossiping questions inappropriate or
    uncomfortable due to their preference for factual and respectful
    communication.

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  30. Understand
    what masking
    looks like for
    us.
    #10
    @5minutesnippets

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  31. @5minutesnippets
    These are reasons and events we are most likely to mask in.

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  32. @5minutesnippets
    What are the
    Benefits of
    working with
    Neurodivergent
    staff?

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  33. @5minutesnippets
    #1
    Diverse Skill
    Sets

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  34. @5minutesnippets
    #2
    Different
    Perspectives

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  35. @5minutesnippets
    #3
    Attention to
    Detail

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  36. @5minutesnippets
    #4
    Passion and
    Dedication

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  37. @5minutesnippets
    #5
    Creativity and
    Innovation

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  38. @5minutesnippets
    #6
    Increased
    Productivity

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  39. @5minutesnippets
    #7
    Dedication to
    Routine

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  40. @5minutesnippets
    #8
    Positive Team
    Dynamics

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  41. @5minutesnippets
    #9
    Improved
    Problem
    Solving

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  42. @5minutesnippets
    #10
    Demonstrating
    Inclusivity

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  43. @5minutesnippets
    #11
    Legal and
    Ethical
    Compliance

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  44. @5minutesnippets
    Tips for
    Neurodiverse
    Team Members
    - Because yes, we
    can be better too.

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  45. @5minutesnippets
    Your colleagues can’t help
    you if you don’t help
    yourself.
    There are things we can do
    to meet in the middle.

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  46. @5minutesnippets
    You should be checking
    with your manager / team
    what your priorities are.
    Add a calendar reminder
    each day to find out.

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  47. @5minutesnippets
    Just because someone
    asked you to do something
    doesn’t mean it needs to be
    done now.
    Always ask to double check.

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  48. @5minutesnippets
    You should use alarms and
    timers to remind you when
    you have meetings.

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  49. @5minutesnippets
    You should always ask for
    clarification before starting
    a task to ensure you don’t
    waste time / haven’t
    misinterpreted instruction.

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  50. @5minutesnippets
    Step 1: Take the Systemizing Quotient
    and the ASRS-5 or this assessment.
    Step 2: Request a test via NHS (or go
    private).
    Step 3: Speak to an affordable Autism &
    ADHD specialised therapist who can help
    you before and after your test results.

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  51. DO NOT DISTRIBUTE. FOR REFERENCE ONLY. COPYRIGHT © NOVOS, 2023.

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