The impact of an autism profile
11th November 2020
An Autism Profile is a full description of how autism affects a particular a particular individual. Aspiedent’s Autism Profiles explain what underlying autistic issues somebody has that are responsible for their external autistic symptoms, problems and even talents.
We have witnessed it being literally life-changing for an autistic person when they receive their own autism profile. And Aspiedent only have to ask a person relatively informal questions to formulate one.
How? Here are 5 advantageous impacts of an Autism profile:
1) It helps them understand themselves. It puts the past into context and gives hope for the future.
The autistic individual might have had many failed friendships or relationships, and therefore concluded that they are a gullible or unlikeable person, destined to be alone. But from their autism profile, they now see that they have been drawn to certain people due to their difficulties with processing emotions (common in autism), and their experiences now make sense to them. They can also now see how they might go about building more successful, healthy relationships in future.
2) It helps them understand how they are different from everyone else. This leads to acceptance of other people and often a better understanding of the rest of the world.
Some autistic people miss out on the richness of the social world because other people do not make sense to them. This can upset or annoy the autistic person. An Autism Profile can help the person understand how other people perceive the world differently to them, which can help them to tolerate and accept non-autistic people (the same thing we ask non-autistic people to do for autistic people). When this works both ways, it is much more effective.
3) It helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses. Why they struggle in some areas but excel in other areas. An autism profile can highlight the coping strategies that they are already using. Sometimes these coping strategies can be harnessed for a satisfying career.
Autistic strengths and weaknesses can be more extreme than average. So it is vital that these strengths and weaknesses are understood. Once properly understood, these extreme strengths and weaknesses can be built on or worked around.
Sometimes an autistic individual has made poor study choices or regretful career choices because of the complexity of their underlying issues. An autism profile helps them to understand what went wrong and why and therefore create a plan for future fulfilment.
4) We find that an autism profile improves mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. We never cease to be amazed at how simply helping people understand what is really going helps their mental health!
A lot of depression and anxiety in autistic people is often down to not understanding themselves or the world around them. When their specific underlying issues and subsequent autistic traits are clearly explained to them, they can suddenly feel calmer and more able to problem solve around challenging situations.
5) It can provide a pathway for the autistic individual to gain new skills before attempting to (re-)enter the jobs market.
Last but not least, choosing the correct career path that matches a person’s natural ability profile, and preferred sensory environment, can prevent a person from wasting twenty years of their working life doing the wrong jobs and feeling miserable. Autistic people generally have more uneven ability profiles due to autism and it is therefore important they have quality help figuring out what job will be right for them. This really saves them a lot of grief.
In an employment context, an Autism Profile forms part of Aspiedent’s Autism Workplace Assessments. Whether done as a standalone assessment or as part of a Workplace Assessment, an Autism Profile can have a profound effect on an individual.
How do Autism Profiles apply to employment?
Employers have a legal duty to make ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ for employees with autism. An Autism Profile forms an important part of Aspiedent’s Workplace Assessment and underpins the ‘reasonable adjustments’ that we recommend.
An autism profile is extremely important to help an employer to understand why the recommended reasonable adjustments are necessary and how they will help!
Understanding why a colleague needs, for example, their own set quiet desk in a hot-desking area, means other employees are more likely not to resent the fact that they do not have their own set desk too.
It is much easier for other employees to empathise and make accommodations for an autistic colleague, if they know that this colleague needs their own desk because they find office background office noise physically painful (rather than having their own desk just makes them ‘feel better’!)
Moreover, it is difficult to maintain a reasonable adjustment if you don’t understand the reasoning behind it. In fact, these kinds of reasonable adjustments often end up on paper but not implemented (or in the bin).
If understood precisely why the reasonable adjustment is needed and how it will help, then a good employer or manager would be equipped to make appropriate reasonable adjustments even when the working environment changes (so you don’t have to repeatedly get advice).
With an in depth understanding of someone’s individual autism, it is easier to pre-empt difficulties before they arise, and if difficulties do arise, it is easier to deal with them before they cause any disruption.
If/when the employee in question gets a promotion, their autism profile can be passed on and a new manager should be able to work with it. In consultation with the employee, they could easily adapt recommendations to fit the new role.
Being Proactive rather than Reactive
We often say that we go into workplaces with a need related to autism and fix the problems. Perhaps our issue is that we fix the problems so effectively that we very rarely have to go back. Once we have fixed the problems and the manager and the employee understand what is really going on, there is no further need for our input: they can adapt as appropriate.
That being said, Autism Profiles do not have to be done as part of a Workplace Assessment. They can be done as a standalone assessment and can be very useful when someone is wondering where their career should go next, especially when they have made regrettable choices in the past. Via an Autism Profile, we can help them understand why the choices were not great, why it went wrong, and steer them towards careers that they are likely to excel in.
In short, an Aspiedent Autism Profile can be life-changing for an autistic individual who has struggled throughout their adult life. If an Autism Profile is given while the person is still young, it will prevent the suffering and heartache experienced by many autistic adults due to a lack of understanding of what is really going on both on their part and the world around them. We believe that preventing mental health difficulties is better for everybody concerned rather than curing them later on