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Support for Autistic Staff

In February 2023, the DCU Human Resources Department were delighted to welcome a new new ninth principle to the DCU Autism Friendly Project:  

 Principle 9: DCU Will Work to Build Capacity Throughout the University to Support Autistic Employees*

Under this new principle, we have introduced additional support for autistic staff at DCU:

We will continue to build capacity across the University to support autistic staff and look forward to working closely with the DCU Autism Friendly Team. 

If you would like to discuss DCU's support for autistic staff further, please contact any of the following colleagues: 

 

*Surveys amongst the autistic community conclude that “autistic person/people” is the most preferred phrase. To reflect these feelings and in line with ASIAM’s approach, Autism Friendly DCU follows a policy of using identity-first language. Survey findings available at the National Autistic Society (NAS), the Royal College of General Practitioners and the UCL Institute of Education study. If you prefer person-first language, we will at all times endeavour to follow your lead in our direct communications with you.

  1. Contact Spectrum Life via your preferred method below:

 

  • Freephone 1800 814 243 *Please note, if all lines are busy on initial contact, you will be offered to leave a voicemail and a call back within 24 hours. 

 

  • SMS - Text ‘Hi’ to 087 145 2056

 

  • WhatsApp - Text ‘Hi to 087 369 001

 

 

 

  1. A case manager will assess your initial needs and arrange for a follow-on phone call.

 

  1. After you make contact a Case Manager (a trained counsellor) will come back to you within 24 hours

 

  • This call will last 30 minutes and the purpose of it is to assess your initial needs and provide emotional support

 

  • You can request a preference to be connected with a counsellor who has expertise in supporting neurodivergent clients.

 

  • You will be asked to provided information including contact details, date of birth, previous counselling history

 

  • You will be matched with the most appropriate support available which might include referral to short-term counselling (up to six sessions) or, Online CBT

 

  • If needed, you will be signposted to longer term/specialist supports. This support is outside the remit of this service.

 

  1. Your case manager will contact you when the appropriate counsellor for you has been identified

 

  1. You will arrange your bookings with your case manager through your preferred communication e.g., text, email, or phone call.
  • You will have the same counsellor for the six counselling sessions, and a Case Manager as a point of contact throughout the experience.

 

If you have any questions or issues while accessing Spectrum Life, please contact: 

 

Note - all communications between Spectrum Life and you are confidential.

 

The DCU HR EDI Team and the DCU Autism Friendly University Team are delighted to collaborate to introduce Supporting Autistic Staff: Training for Managers

This session will explore practical ways that you, as a manager can support autistic and/or neurodivergent team members. This will include an overview of possible reasonable accommodations, referral pathways for ongoing support, and a discussion on inclusive language / ways or working.

Register now

If you are autistic, there may be supports/adjustments available to you that place you in a better position to succeed in a neurotypical workplace.

Reasonable accommodations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some examples of reasonable accommodations that may be considered include: 

Potential Environment Adjustments. Where possible:
  • A screen filter for laptop, desktop or tablet monitor, to minimise  sensory overload
  • Access to ergonomic keyboards, mouse or trackpad, to minimise 
  • Dual computer screens to have an overview of work without having to switch applications
  • Access to time-management or project-management apps, to help with scheduling tasks and checking the daily schedule
  • A sensory friendly space to work in to avoid sensory overload (light, sound, colours, space, scent, too much happening at the same time)
Adjustments to line-management procedures.  Where possible:
  • Receive reminders of important deadlines and tasks
  • Receive instructions in a written format instead of just verbally
  • Use a preferred method of communication- eg, camera off online, email instead of phone call
  • Advance notice if required to speak at meetings
Adjustments to day-to-day work arrangements. Where possible:
  • Flexible working hours to travel at a suitable time and avoid being overwhelmed before starting work
  • Receiving agendas for meetings in advance 
  • Receive advance warning of any changes to the workplace or  tasks
  • Permission to opt out of team-building activities when necessary
Professional and Personal  Support 
  • Counselling/mentoring with qualified (expertise in autism) practitioners, through Spectrum Life.
  • Be part of a neurodivergent staff network for neurodivergent staff to find support and community with each other
  • Provide access to a strength-based coach with expertise in working with autistic clients- (through the department budget) 

 

If you would like to discuss DCU's support for autistic staff further, please contact any of the following colleagues: