How employees with Autism can use Read&Write to thrive in the workplace

Around 75 million people are Autistic. That’s 1% of the global population.  This translates into a large portion of the workforce, and it’s important that these employees are supported. 

Creating a more inclusive workplace for employees with Autism

When we support neurodiverse employees, including those with Autism, we get several benefits:

  1. Access to a larger pool of skilled individuals
  2. The unique strengths employees with Autism can provide like attention to detail & ability to hyper-focus.
  3. An improved workplace culture where all employees can feel valued 
  4. Attract and retain new talent, with more and more employees now valuing inclusiveness when choosing where to work.

Introducing Read&Write: our literacy support tool

Read&Write for Work is an inclusion tool that supports neurodivergent employees like those with Autism. Sitting within a discreet toolbar for ease-of-use and instant support, Read&Write’s tools help with multiple areas of learning, reading and writing. 

This means employees can use the tools when and where they need to.

How can Read&Write support employees with Autism?

In this video, Inclusive Technology Specialist at Texthelp, Nicola Warnock, shows how inclusive technology helps employees with Autism achieve their day-to-day tasks.

It’s important to create an inclusive workplace where employees with Autism can reach their full potential.

Although every employee with Autism will be different, the may encounter challenges such as difficulty understanding verbal and non-verbal communication and expressing emotion. They may also experience sensory sensitivities and encounter anxiety when routine changes.

Autistic people can also be literal thinkers, which can make it difficult to follow instructions that aren’t specific. 

Here’s how Read&Write's features can support Autistic employees in different areas:

Improved focus & reduced sensory overload

Employees with autism may experience challenges with focus and sensory overload, particularly in noisy or bright environments, such as offices. Read&Write’s suite of features offer tailored solutions that can help with these challenges. 

Text-to-Speech lets employees hear on-screen text read aloud. Listening to text as it’s being read is beneficial for neurodivergent staff, like those with autism, as it helps with increasing focus and building a better understanding of the text. It also improves information retention due to the text being absorbed in both an auditory and visual way.

Audio Maker makes it easier for employees to work with large documents by converting text to MP3 files. This helps employees process large amounts of information in a way that better suits them.

Screen Masking minimises on-screen distractions by applying a screen tint to reduce screen glare and visual overstimulation. It also has a reading spotlight which allows employees to focus on a certain area of the screen and block out the rest. This helps those with sensitivities to colour or light, while also making it easier to focus on particular parts of the screen.

Highlights make it easier to summarise and organise information. Employees can highlight and categorise information using four different highlighter colours. This helps users who may be overstimulated with a lot of content as they can highlight relevant information and collect it into a separate document.

Harness employee strengths, such as great attention to detail

People with Autism often show a strong ability to pay meticulous attention to detail. This is a trait that can be extremely valuable in any workplace. Read&Write’s toolbar of features can help harness this strength.

Check It highlights grammar and spelling errors while employees work. It provides contextual suggestions, which is much more advanced than standard spell checkers. By getting instant support for spelling and grammar, employees can spend more time on the content of what they’re writing, rather than getting occupied with the mechanics of spelling.

AutoCorrect works seamlessly in the background, fixing common errors. AutoCorrect helps improve the overall quality of written communication, ensuring that employees convey their ideas clearly and professionally.

Text-to-Speech can also be used as a proof-reading tool. Employees can play text aloud to check for errors that may not be apparent when reading through the text silently.

Prediction intuitively predicts the word the user is typing and the word most likely to follow. This lets employees choose from suggested words and keep their flow of writing.

Reduced levels of anxiety

Many Autistic people experience heightened anxiety, particularly in social and work environments. Read&Write offers a suite of assistive tools that can directly help with these challenges and help reduce anxiety for employees with Autism. 

Enhanced comprehension and focus: Features like Text-to-Speech, Highlights and Prediction help employees better understand and focus on written information. This can improve confidence and contribute to less anxiety around reading and writing.

More independence: When employees have a range of tools at their disposal, they’re able to personalise their working and learning style. This also helps employees tackle problems on their own, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Inclusive workplace culture: With Read&Write, employees have several tools they can use to help with daily tasks, whether they disclose that they’re neurodiverse or not. Assistive technology also helps foster a more inclusive environment, where all employees can feel welcomed and valued.

How can Read&Write support managers of an employee with Autism

As a manager of an employee with Autism, you may face certain challenges if the employee isn’t supported enough. These challenges can affect the employee’s productivity, communication and self-esteem.

Read&Write provides features that are designed to support managers in their efforts to create a successful and inclusive environment for all employees:

  • Voice Notes lets employees record audio notes rather than leaving written comments. Managers can also use this feature to leave comments on their employees’ work. This means instructions and feedback, particularly if lengthy or complicated, can be left in a clear and concise manner that reduces misunderstandings. 
  • Highlights can be used by managers to highlight and pull out key points in important documents like briefs and meeting notes that can then be shared. This can help reduce the sensory overload that may be caused by being given a lot of information at once.

What's it like using Read&Write for Work?

Rita, Learning & Development Coordinator at CIPD, is professional with ADHD and Dyslexia.

“Having a desk-based job means that sometimes I struggle with attention and focus. I find it challenging to pay attention and process information during long periods, and sometimes even in simple tasks such as writing. I wasn't diagnosed until very recently, which is not uncommon at all.

When I came across Read&Write, I realised that using the screenwriter, the speech-to-text tool, and the screen masking, all together allowed me to circumvent those difficulties I was facing on a daily basis. Also, I realised that this is something I was already tiptoeing into, even without having a diagnosis. So you don't have to have a diagnosis to know that you can gain from these technologies."

Learn how to support neurodivergent staff in our guide

For more information on what we can do to understand and help our neurodiverse employees, including employees with Autism, check out our free guide, Neurodiversity in the Workplace: A Guide for HR and DEI Managers.

Discover how Read&Write can support employees with Autism

Read&Write supports over 40 million people worldwide, and we’re ready to support millions more. Chat to us about how Read&Write can support your people. Complete this form to ask us questions, receive a demo, or to discuss licensing options.

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