We're winding up Autism Acceptance Week 2023 by reflecting on a productive partnership that started a few years ago.
Chris Bonnello is an author, a speaker and an Autism advocate.
We’re proud to say that MacIntyre was unintentionally instrumental in starting Chris’s career as an international speaker on Autism, as we were the first organisation to which he came and presented his ideas.
In March, Chris joined us to give a thoughtful and entertaining talk entitled “Autism, and how to make the workplace work”. This was his seventh time presenting to us at MacIntyre.
Playing to our strengths
Chris started by demonstrating an amazing skill: he can solve a Rubiks Cube in 14.88 seconds! (We didn’t actually time him but it seemed faster…)
This demonstrated one of the key messages of Chris’s talk: how important it is to play to people’s strengths. These are likely to be different for Autistic people than for neurotypicals.
Chris described what it’s like to look for a job as an Autistic person. He explained all the barriers put up by a typical recruitment process. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that the world is built with “everyone else” in mind.
For example, a typical interview process can be really daunting for someone with autism. It can raise huge anxiety which prevents Autistic candidates demonstrating their strengths. They are easily overlooked in favour of people who have the skills to win the interview “game”
Chris asked a question which stuck with us:
If you were recruiting for a construction company, would you rather employ someone who was good at building houses, or someone who was good at talking about building houses?
Once in employment
So how can employers support their Autistic staff?
Ask them. Give them time and space to answer. Believe what they say.
We will likely need accommodations, but when the right support is in place, we will be a massive asset to your team. Just because we think differently doesn't mean we don't make great employees, it just means we do great differently.
We’re already hoping to get Chris back to talk to us for the eighth time!
You can find Chris and his work at: