Last week I sat down with Pam from Beloved Bath, a boutique candle and soap making company whose mission is meaningful employment for adults with autism. The founders and owners, Pam and Pat, both have sons on the autism spectrum.
It was such a beautiful conversation, especially considering that Beloved Bath has helped to inspire our mission at Savor Street. Our daughter Kelly’s experience working at Beloved Bath has been nothing short of amazing. As her mother, I would say that is mostly because of the gentle way in which Pam and Pat honor Kelly’s talents and abilities. They give Kelly and all their employees space to express themselves in a way that elevates the energy behind Beloved Bath – the energy of love and acceptance.
Here are a few takeaways from our conversation. If you are looking to implement a neurodiversity program in your workplace and not sure where to start, consider a few of Pam’s recommendations:
- Identify needs within your company or organization
- Break down those needs into potential jobs
- Take each job and divide into smaller tasks
- Contact local agencies for support
- Seek out organizations and schools to find adults looking for employment
- Consider all individuals on the spectrum
- Prepare for the learning curve, allowing extra time to teach necessary steps to do the job
- Make sure tasks have definite beginning and end
- Find the thing the employees enjoy doing and have them do that. Preferred tasks will build confidence. As they grow in confidence, it will expand their ability to engage in new skills or tasks
And for adults on the spectrum or their parents, here are few thoughts:
- Disclosure is an important aspect of working together for the greater good of both the organization and all of those that work for it
- Rather than trying to hide the possible challenges you face, share them in such a way as to help educate the workplace and to set yourself up for success as well
- Make a list of things to know about your son or daughter to share with employer and fellow employees.
The number of companies committed to neurodiversity in the workplace has grown substantially in recent years as are the resources for implementing a program for neurodiversity. This is super exciting and quite promising!
As Kelly says, “it may take me longer to learn, but once I understand what I am supposed to do, I work hard and focus on the job!”
Suzie, GF Guru Mama