(Dis)Closing the Deal

by maximusaurus

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One topic I get asked about a lot is whether or not someone on the spectrum should disclose their condition to an employer when applying for a job. I myself have been very fortunate in this regard; my autism was actually one of the reasons I got my current job as a mentor and speaker. But I do realize that not every employer is as spectrum-friendly as mine.

As I general rule, I would advise disclosure. However, I think that how you disclose is of critical importance. If you frame your autism in an entirely negative way, and make it sound like nothing but a liability, then it will probably hurt your chances.

On the other hand, if you detail the strengths that your autism grants you instead of just the challenges, then you can turn that liability into an asset.

For example, instead of saying “I have autism and that means I get stressed out and can’t deal with noise”, say that while it does give you some sensitivities, it also gives you a high level of focus, determination, attention to detail, or whatever your autistic strengths happen to be. Make them aware of whatever difficulties you may have, but also play up the positives. Sell your autism as a skillset rather than a disease.

Not only will this improve your chances of landing the job, but you’ll also be helping to dispel negative stereotypes about autism, and in turn, helping to build a future where being on the spectrum won’t be a barrier to employment.