To disclose or not to disclose: workforce experiences of employees with ASD

Brownlow, Charlotte and Werth, Shalene ORCID: (2015) To disclose or not to disclose: workforce experiences of employees with ASD. In: 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, 26-28 Oct 2015, Creswick, Victoria.


The numbers of people with invisible disabilities who undertake paid employment are increasing. However, workplaces are not always structured to manage a diverse workforce with different needs. With the rising number of workers with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in paid employment, there is a need for employers to develop strategies to support the needs of these workers. However, in order for employers to put support strategies in place, the employee first needs to disclose their condition to their employer, which can be a difficult decision for some. In order to better understand the issues faced by some workers with ASD, this study investigated the experiences of 14 workers with ASD, who worked across various types and levels of employment in metropolitan, regional and remote locations within Australia. The data collected provided a detailed account of the experiences of those 14 individuals based on a combination of rating scales and open-ended questions. All participants reported challenges within their employment settings relating to their decision to disclose or not disclose their individual challenges. The study also found that for these individuals, workplaces were more transient, with only three people being in the same employment for more than 5 years. Even with this length of employment, all three were ambivalent, dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current position of employment. For all of these individuals, disclosure of their ASD to their employer was a key issue. Implications from the findings include the need to educate employers about potential employee challenges, and the increased effectiveness of the leveraging of labour market power for this population of workers.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 05:30
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 02:19
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520399 Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified

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