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Autism spectrum disorder - what is it?

This disorder is often associated only with young children, while in fact it affects about 1-3% of our entire population regardless of age, background and race. Who is a person on the autism spectrum? First and foremost, he is a human being - just like you. A person who looks at the world from a different perspective, which does not mean that it is an inferior way.

Autistic people can suffer from all sorts of disturbances in sensory stimulation (smell, sound, light), and also have problems in announcing their needs and communicating with other people. Talking to a person on the spectrum needs to be simple, clear and without portentousness.

Workshops helped to understand an autistic person

The Respektrum project opens up access for employers to extraordinary employees whose qualities will enrich the way they work at the company, broadening their perspective and paying special attention to the diversity of people who together make up the working community. All it takes is figuring out how to create a workplace for a person on the autism spectrum.

The aim of the Respectrum project is primarily to activate adults on the autism spectrum in the labor market by supporting entrepreneurs in breaking down barriers in the process of hiring and recruiting people on the autism spectrum. With this project, we want to motivate people on the autism spectrum to take up employment and at the same time we want to raise public awareness by paying special attention to the diversity of people in the professional environment.

Malgorzata Krzeszowska, head of the Wroclaw Entrepreneurship Support Department

A workshop for companies was held on Wednesday (June 21) at Infor's headquarters on Pilsudskiego Street in Wroclaw. The event was organized by ABSL (Association of Business Service Sector Leaders) and Entrepreneurial Wroclaw. Participants learned, among other things, what characteristics a person with autism may have, how a job interview should be conducted, how to deal with possible communication difficulties or how to create a friendly workplace.

This is an increasingly important issue for ABSL member companies and for business. Companies are recognizing more that it's up to organizations to adapt to the specifics of their employees, rather than every employee fitting into a rigid organizational framework. This results in better engagement, which results in greater job satisfaction and better utilization of employees' potential. A person on the autism spectrum who is employed in a place where there is a lot of noise, where there is frequent, intense contact with other people does not feel comfortable. On the other hand, if we identify the problem and adjust the role in the organization to the person, he/she may turn out to be a super employee who excels at what the company does.

Lukasz Czajkowski, ABSL

- Companies are seeing more and more the need for this, and we would also like as ABSL to create a platform where best practices are exchanged between organizations, where our member companies can learn from outside experts, adds Lukasz Czajkowski.

Communication is key

For a person on the autism spectrum, communication is important. The way in which information is conveyed is key - use words that are specific and unambiguous, and do not allow for insinuation. However, in order for this to happen, you need to talk to each other and inform (among other things, your employer) about your needs.

"Respektrum" is a very good and socially necessary initiative. Breaking down the barriers to recruiting and hiring people on the autism spectrum, or neurodiverse people more broadly, is important from the point of view of all participants in the labor market - candidates, employers and co-workers. It is very positive that the awareness of entrepreneurs is growing, although there is still too little talk about diversity in this particular context, in my opinion. I observe changes most often in the largest companies, which have decided to transform their existing organizational culture. That is why the role of leaders is so important here. They are the ones who can pass on their knowledge, skills and best practices in this area both inside the organization and to all those around them.

Marcin Piaskowski, senior director consulting practice and head of Wroclaw office, Infor Polska

The Respektrum project is implemented in the Department of Public Finance, in the Department of Supporting Wroclaw Entrepreneurship of the Wroclaw City Hall.