Autistic / Allistic Intercommunication: A Guide for the Workplace

Autistic people experience significant disadvantage and discrimination in the workplace. As modern workplaces strive for equity, diversity and inclusivity, it is now a necessity to embed neurodiversity into the fabric of business practices in order to remove social, attitudinal, and infrastructural barriers. Leading with empathy is key to employee engagement, performance management, and accomplishing productivity goals. 

Among the barriers experienced by Autistic employees in the workplace, one challenge that stood out was communication with allistics. Allistic is a term referring to all non-Autistic people, which comprises both neurotypicals and non-Autistic neurodivergent people.

To bridge this gap, Sara Lacarte, an Autistic PhD student at the University of Toronto and Autism Alliance of Canada’s 2021-22 Health System Impact Fellow, and Zahra Husein, an Autistic MA student at the University of Guelph, developed a resource to support managers, supervisors and colleagues who are working with Autistic staff.

The content of the Autistic/Allistic Intercommunication Guide was based on 38 interviews with Autistic workers and 17 interviews with business managers and disability support specialists from across Canada, as well as academic and grey literature pertaining to workplace communication and autistic communication styles. Interviews with participants were held from January to June 2022. Financial support for this project was provided by the Community Innovation Fund from Ready, Willing & Able.

Resources and Outputs

Title page for Autistic / Allistic Intercommunication: A Guide for the Workplace

Autistic /Allistic Intercommunication: A Guide for the Workplace

The “Autistic/Allistic Intercommunication: A Guide for the Workplace” provides an overview of Autistic communication differences along with explanations for these differences. It also provides guidance on how to adapt verbal and non-verbal communication in the workplace.