What you need to know:
There are numerous services available in Manitoba to help people with disabilities, or specifically those
on the autism spectrum to find employment. These include the provincial government’s Employability
Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD) program and numerous employment providers that can be
accessed through EAPD, along with Level IT Up, an organization dedicated towards helping skilled
adults on the autism spectrum enter the workforce.
What is this video about?
There are several difficulties that people on the autism spectrum face in trying to obtain employment,
and the amount of success that people with autism have working with provincial programs and
employment providers varies depending on the person and the individual challenges they face. For
those that do succeed, whether with or without the help of any assistive services, navigating the
workplace presents a separate host of challenges that are often not given the attention they deserve.
How was this video developed?
The producer(s) reached out to numerous self-advocates with varying levels of success in regards to
finding employment and navigating the workplace and interviewed them with specific, detailed
questions about their experiences. Questions covered the challenges the subjects faced while seeking
employment, the positive and negative of services they utilized to assist them in doing so,
accommodations they sought in the workplace to make their experience more comfortable and the
degree to which their supervisors were willing to work with them in this regard.
What were the findings?
The experiences and challenges of people on the spectrum in the working world vary greatly, with some
self-advocates having generally satisfactory experiences and others enduring overwhelming hardship
both in the workplace and in the application and hiring process. Some commonly-cited issues include:
- Struggling with job interviews due to difficulties reading social cues and body language, and courses
assisting in this area being geared towards neurotypicals.
- A lack of understanding about autism spectrum disorder in the workplace despite the legislation of
accommodation for people with disabilities in the Accessibility For Manitobans Act, leading to
conflict and flawed communication with co-workers and supervisors.
- Mental, emotional and physical abuse from co-workers and supervisors that can result in reluctance to
work, depression or suicide.
In describing these struggles, the interviewees had a consensus that greater education about the
condition of autism spectrum disorder and what it entails along with corresponding accommodations in
the workplace and hiring process will greatly improve the experience of many people on the spectrum
in seeking and obtaining employment.
How can you use these findings?
These findings demonstrate the various obstacles and hardships that people on the spectrum come
across in becoming and staying employed, often due to a lack of understanding about autism spectrum
disorder and the individual needs of each worker or prospective employee. You can learn more about
autism and employment at the following links:
Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities: The Manitoba government’s program to help
people with disabilities obtain employment.
Work and Social Opportunities (WASO): One of many employment providers supported by the
provincial government that help people with disabilities find work; talk with an EAPD case worker to
find which provider is most suitable for you.
Level IT Up: An organization that specifically helps people with autism spectrum disorder obtain
Manitoba Accessibility Office: An office in the provincial government dedicated towards making
employment accessible for people with disabilities.