Entering the world of work can be a challenge for youth and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Preparation is key and there are many resources available to help youth and adults work through their expectations and those of their prospective employers. Below is some important information you should be aware of as your child begins to enter the workplace.
Accommodations in the Workplace
The Manitoba Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination in the workplace against individuals who have a physical or mental disability. The overall purpose of the code is to ensure that all individuals have equal participation and opportunities available to them in their environment. If an employee has a special need, the workplace must make reasonable accommodations to allow the employee to participate and engage in their work.
A reasonable accommodation is when an employer will change how something is typically done in their workplace to take into account the needs of a person that has a disability. Workplace accommodations are variable and unique to each individual. Changes made are typically simple and inexpensive. Depending on the workplace job requirements, some positions may not be as accommodating as others. The workplace must follow guidelines to ensure that a position has attempted to be accommodated before it’s determined to be not available for a particular person with a disability.
It is important to have a discussion with your workplace early on if you know you will be requiring an accommodation. Good communication, understanding, and following up will ensure that employees and employers have a successful work experience.
These are some examples of reasonable accommodations that may occur in a workplace:
- If employee is having difficultly working early mornings due to medication side effects, the workplace may accommodate this by giving individual flexible work hours, or changing their hours to best suit their health needs.
- If individual needs to engage in health activities (such as taking medications, sitting down, or going for a walk) during particular times of day, the workplace can accommodate this by changing employees break times to best fit their health needs.
- If employee has difficulty working for long periods, the workplace can accommodate this by allowing periodic rest breaks to reorient.
- If employee is easily distracted in their work environment, the workplace can accommodate this by minimizing distractions, or see if there is another location where the employee can work.
If you want to learn more about what reasonable accommodations look like in the workplace, visit the Manitoba Human Rights Commission website.
Problems that May Arise in the Workplace
It is important to identify issues and concerns early and resolve them quickly to make sure everyone is working in a healthy workplace environment. When you need to speak to someone about a problem in the workplace begin with supervisors or managing personnel. It is important to document conversations and concerns you have had with others. Document if problems were resolved or not.
If problems were unable to be resolved in your workplace, work your way up the chain of command. This would involve contacting the Human Resource (HR) department at your company. HR representatives handle complaints from employees and act as a mediator between parties. Most issues should be resolved between managing personnel, supervisors and the employee. To maintain healthy relationships, and the most control over the problems it is best to try to resolve problems at the lower levels of command.
If problems in the workplace continue to not be addressed, and the problem is a discrimination against your disability you can file a complaint with The Human Rights Commission. To get more information on filing a complaint, visit the following website or contact The Manitoba Human Rights Commission – How to file a complaint.
700-175 Hargrave Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3R8
341-340 Ninth Street
Brandon, MB R7A 6C2
2nd Floor – Otineka Mall
P.O. Box 2550
The Pas, MB R9A 1M4
TOLL FREE: 1-888-884-8681
What is supported employment?
Supported employment works towards finding employment in the community for individuals with a disability. Supported employment programs will help people with disabilities gain skills needed for the workplace, transition into their integrated workplace position and will support them and their employers to ensure success in the workplace.
For more information on supported employment in Manitoba and helpful resources, visit Manitoba Supported Employment Network (MSEN)
Supported Employment Programs in Manitoba
Below is a list of supported employment programs that may be available to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To get more information about the supported employment programs visit their websites:
- Ability Edge, operated by Career Edge Organization.
- March of Dimes Canada
- A.I.M. for Work Inc.
- Brandon Community Options Inc.
- Community Living Manitoba
- Community Mental Health Services (available to individuals living in Parkland area).
- El’dad Ranch – Initiatives for Just Communities
- Epic Opportunities
- Equal Opportunities West
- Focus on Employment Inc. (available to individuals in Swan Valley district)
- ImagineAbility Inc.
- Interlake Employment Services
- Job Quest- Career Services
- Juniper Centre Inc. (available to individuals living in Thompson, MB)
- Manitoba Civil Service Commission Diversity and Inclusion Renewal Programs
- Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities
- Government of Manitoba marketAbilities Program
- Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program
- Premier Personnel Corporation
- Canadian Mental Health Association:
- Sair Training and Employment Placement Services (referrals to program must be made by marketAbilities).
- Society for Manitobans with Disabilities
- Supported Employment Options- ACL Beausejour (available to individuals living in North Eastman area).
- Thompson Supported Employment Program (available to individuals living in Thompson, MB)
- Westman Employment Services
- SCE LifeWorks
For a complete listing of supported employment programs, and employment job search services available to individuals with a disability in Manitoba please visit: Employment Programs and Services for People with Disabilities Guide, available from the Government of Manitoba.
Level IT Up is a social enterprise promoting the mutual benefits of employing skilled adults with ASD in Winnipeg’s tech sector.
Below is a list of workbooks, articles and websites offering information and assistance to individuals with ASD who are wanting to enter the workforce. Please note that there are many more resources available and always new products and guides being developed to help in this area.
For Employees with ASD:
30 Ways to Shine & Beyond Traditional Job Development, by Denise Bissonnette.
Employment for People with Disabilities, available from the Government of Canada website.
Employment Toolkit, available from Autism Speaks website.
Employment and Income Assistance for Persons with a Disability brochure, available from the Government of Manitoba.
Innovative employment opportunities:
- Project Search – pre-employment training as part of transition from high school.
Employers Information Guide , available form the Society for Treatment of Autism.
Employers Guide to Hiring and Retaining Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), available from Autism Speaks.
A Guide to Employment for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), available from Autism Speaks.
For the Public: