Asperger syndrome is classified as an autism spectrum disorder affecting social interaction, attention and planning. Employees with Asperger syndrome are typically very intelligent, but may not respond to situations in the same way as other employees. Adapting their work environment and job duties can help you get the most out of a valuable employee and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Choose job responsibilities that do not include large amounts of customer or staff interactions, stress or frequent multitasking.
Allow employees with Asperger syndrome to work independently and communicate electronically, when possible. Asperger syndrome often impairs the interpretation of social cues and can make the employee very uncomfortable in social interactions. People with Asperger syndrome may resort to repetitive movements, behaviors or fidgeting for comfort that may be disruptive to others.
Train your other employees on the proper way to interact with those who have Asperger syndrome. Special actions are rarely required, but it is important for other employees to know that apparent social slights are a manifestation of the syndrome and not personal feelings.
Allow for methods of stress management during work hours including personal phone calls or Internet chat for support, control of work space, positive reinforcement and a flexible work schedule.
Break large tasks down into individual steps laid out in a check list to accomodate for problems with time management, memory and focus. Provide a means for employees with Asperger syndrome to stay occupied during down time.
Provide a quiet and clean workspace. Asperger syndrome can cause over-sensitivity to sensory stimuli. Constant noise, potent smells, bright lights and high traffic can be too intense for someone with Asperger syndrome.
Limit the number of supervisors that the employee has to report to. Asperger syndrome can impair the understanding of social structure.
Provide specific examples of acceptable conduct and other desired behaviors rather than relying on the employee to interpret broad guidelines.
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