Workplace coaching for autistic people

What does work-place coaching for Autistic people look like?

Back in 2014, in my first academic job as a researcher, my work computer got updated to Windows 7. With this update, I lost several accessibility features, the most important being able to change the background colour of the Microsoft applications from a harsh white to the aqua blue shade that helped me with reading. I asked IT repeatedly for help for almost six months but didn’t get any. I also worked in an office with two other researchers, and there were frequent phone calls and virtual meetings happening around me.

At this point, I still only had a diagnosis of Dyslexia. I tried and tried to get my work done, doing more and more in the evenings, until eventually my brain gave up and I literally could not make out the shape of letters on a page or screen and could not read at all after a very short time of looking at a book or screen. As someone who got paid to read and write, this was incredibly stressful. I took two weeks off sick and somebody must have recommended I contact Access to Work, but I can’t remember who.

Despite my PhD in disability and welfare, I wasn’t aware of the government support for Disabled people in work

On my return to work, when my boyfriend (now husband) fixed my computer, as IT still wouldn’t help me, I got moved into an office by myself which was bliss; I had the silence needed to be able to think. I also had my Access to Work assessment. I think the assessor may have been an educational psychologist by background, regardless she had real expertise in neurodiversity. Talking to her was so affirming; she understood the issues I was having and even suggested some things that might be difficult for me which I’d never have considered complaining about (hello, it’s Autism calling!), but which really took up space in my brain, reducing my ability to work. O