Support for adults Support news Disability and the Workplace through the eyes of bemix's Young People Entering the world of work can be a nerve-racking experience, which is why we run weekly Job Clubs within our Supported Employment programme. During our Job Clubs, young people can learn valuable employability skills, ready for when they begin their work placements, or progress into paid employment. One question that is often asked is: when, if and how someone should disclose to a potential employer that they have a learning difficulty and/or autism? To explore this further, we created a session within Job Club to encourage people to speak up about their thoughts on the topic. We debated: Should you tell an employer that you have a learning disability and/or autism? When might this be a positive thing to do? What might the drawbacks be? When might you tell an employer that you have a learning disability and/or autism? On your CV? In a covering letter? During an interview? How might you want to communicate this with the employer so your voice is properly heard? What unique strengths and qualities could your learning disability and/or autism bring to their workplace? How could you showcase this? The debate drew insightful perspectives. Here are a few of the statements and points made during that discussion: ‘Different is not broken.’ ‘When I first heard about autism, I thought it was some kind of disease, now I know it’s just what makes me special.’ ‘Three or four people could have autism and they could all need different things.’ On disclosing autism to an employer: ‘It would make my life easier but it's like reaching out to a complete stranger’ ‘I think it's a good idea - on disclosing a learning disability and/or autism’ ‘There is something to be said for transparency’ ‘My school ended up building me an accessible kitchen (for wheelchair use), so it can be done.’ On reasons why someone may not wish to disclose having autism to an employer ‘When I tell people I have autism they infantilize, they basically talk down to me’ ‘I think it depends on the employer’ In answer to the original question - if and how someone should disclose to a potential employer that they have a learning difficulty and/or autism - we agreed that there is no right or wrong answer. We concluded that the answer was dependent on the individual, the employer and the role, in question. We hope that one day, disclosing will no longer be something that requires a decision - that society in general will become disability aware enough for disclosure not to be an issue! As outlined in our bemix Vision and Values, we want to live in a world where every single person is valued as an individual - where people with learning difficulties and autism will be fully and equally involved in all areas of society. The discussions that were had within Job Club, gave group supporters a refreshed admiration for how many barriers young people overcome to get into paid work - demonstrating just how determined and motivated they are to achieve! For more information about bemix Supported Internships click here. For more information about bemix Preparation For Employment Programme click here.