Six tips for better communication with workers with an Autism Spectrum Condition

Published date
If you’ve got colleagues with an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) then World Autism Awareness Week (30 March – 5 April) is a good time to think about how you communicate in the workplace.

We’ve come up with six tips to help you better communicate with colleagues and union members with an ASC.

These are general tips and it’s important to remember that everyone with an ASC is different. This is particularly true when it comes to communication, interaction and thinking styles.

1. Spell out your key points

Think about what exactly you need your colleague to understand. Don’t assume that something is obvious to them just because it’s obvious to you. Say what you need to say clearly and efficiently.

2. Choose your words carefully

Don’t use slang, metaphors or figures of speech as colleagues with an ASC may struggle to understand. Try not to use jargon.

3. Consider body language

If you’re speaking face to face, be aware of your body language and the tone of your voice. Don’t use sarcasm because colleagues with an ASC may not pick up on what you really mean and may take you at your word - again leading to confusion.

4. Recap your main points

Keep to your important points and recap them. People with ASC may find it challenging to ask questions, so make sure that you explicitly invite them to ask. This may be harder if you’re speaking remotely via telephone or email.

5. Think about your environment

If you’re speaking face to face, then you should also think about your environment. Having a TV or radio in the background can be distracting and hinder your message.

6 . Be patient

People with ASC can sometimes take a little longer to get their thoughts together and express what they want to say. Be patient, and don’t try to speed up the conversation by finishing their sentences for them.

Download our toolkit

These are just some tips that we’ve developed to help trade union members and reps communicate with colleagues and members with ASC. We've also written a toolkit full of information, case studies and suggestions.

Download our ‘Autism awareness in the workplace’ toolkit today.