Tips for Working with Adults on the Autism Spectrum

This resource was created to support customer service representatives and is accompanied by our Autism: See the Potential video.

  1. Be positive, calm and unhurried.
  2. Take your cues from the person you are supporting. For example, if a person on the autism spectrum seems sensitive to touch, take their lead during the greeting
  3. Use direct, simple language and allow time for a response. Don’t present too much information at once and avoid the use of idioms; such as “A penny for your thoughts.” Too much extraneous chat may be confusing.
  4. Outline expectations. Clearly articulate what needs to be done and approximately how long it will take. Indicate when each step is completed. For example: “To apply to this program, I need you to do two things,” or “This will take about 10 minutes. Is that okay?” or “Read this paper, and then sign here.”
  5. If possible, provide visuals or written materials. If only verbal directions are provided, find a way to ensure the person you are serving understands each step.
  6. Break tasks into smaller components and set a timeline for completion. When setting goals, be realistic and specific about the steps that will be needed to realize that goal.
  7. The use of a calendar is ideal to support people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Providing organizational support to assist with planning and prioritization whenever possible is encouraged.

About Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a life-long neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them.
  • ASD can affect behaviour, social interactions, and one’s ability to communicate verbally.
  • Many persons with ASD may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
  • ASD is a spectrum disorder which means that while all people with ASD will experience certain difficulties, the degree to which each person on the spectrum experiences these challenges will be different.
  • Challenges associated with ASD may include anxiety, attention deficit disorder, learning disability, executive functioning disorder, intellectual disability or mental health issues.
  • According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, approximately 1% of the Canadian population is affected by ASD.

Learn more by visiting www.autismontario.com