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When and how to Disclose your Disability

Trial and Error

When I was initially diagnosed autistic I was really happy, elated and ready to tell the world.

However, I quickly became cautious of who to tell. Not everyone was accepting of it.

It is important to know you are protected by the Equality Act of 2010. Employers have a duty of care to you and to make reasonable adjustments so you can succeed. It is the law. You do not have to be employed for 2 years for this to come into affect. It is as soon as you accept the job offer. 

I had worked with my employer at the time for five years. They were quite dismissive of it and they did not understand why I was asking for reasonable adjustments. To them I had worked there for five years without the use of headphones etc so why would I need them now.

When I got diagnosed I was really honest with my managers said I was open to a meeting but nothing ever happened and the only thing we could agree on was using headphones.

The relationship became quite strained so when I got furloughed for three months in March 2020 it gave me the break I needed to really figure out who I was and what I wanted.

I got called back to work on my birthday in June and lasted 1 month before handing my notice in.

I had no other job to go to but I just wasn't happy and when I got furloughed back in March in my head it was like the relationship ending and it was just too hard to get back into the swing of a job I had no passion for.

So I started interviewing for a new job and honestly, I wish I had told my current employer or had the confidence to tell them in my second interview. I genuinely do not think it would have made a difference. When I got the job offer I did disclose on the forms I was provided.

When I had my chat with HR I again advised I was Autistic and it was then we discussed who I wanted to disclose to so obviously my immediate management but I was not comfortable at the time disclosing to my team.

What I would say is get your manager to have your back. Make sure they understand and are comfortable this will halp you and your team will automatically respect you to.

I have been in my current role for 6 months and with the help of my manager have now disclosed to my immediate team and also used Autism awareness week to disclose to the rest of the company.

I have decided honesty is definitely the best policy. I do not like lying anyway and masking does become too hard.

By being honest and open you can be yourself.

I created a fact sheet to share with my team just 1 page so they could digest what I had told them in my own time. 

The job I have is quite high pressured and stressful so I knew masking and doing that job would be impossible. Therefore I felt I needed to tell my colleagues to give them a chance to understand me. It was only fair to them.

The reaction I have had has been very positive. It made me know it was the right decision for me.