The Autistic Voices Project, Part 1

The Autistic Voices Project, Part 1, was prompted by the need to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on employment experiences amongst Autistic people in Canada, specifically, unique challenges faced and opportunities that have emerged.

From December 2020 to February 2021, informal interviews were conducted with 30 Autistic people in Canada, using Zoom online software. Autistic people were invited to partake in this project through targeted emails, social media postings, and general dissemination via Autism Alliance of Canada’s member channels and other autism-specific community organizations across Canada. Interviews ranged from 20-minutes to 1-hour-and-30-minutes and questions inquired about experiences working, job searching, and/or being unemployed during the pandemic, related to challenges, benefits (when applicable), supports received, and impact on mental health and overall wellbeing. 

Participants shared diverse experiences from across Canada, including Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Their age ranged from 18 to 48. At the time of the interview, some were working remotely or in-person, others were actively looking for work, and others who were unemployed because they were laid off or chose to take a break for work due to personal or COVID-related reasons.

Results from the 30 interviews were grouped to highlight key learnings on the following topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Job role changes
  3. Challenges and barriers
  4. Benefits and opportunities
  5. Supports
  6. Mental health
  7. Closing remarks and advice.

The videos were developed and edited, in collaboration with and co-led by a person who identifies as Autistic.

We encourage viewers of these lived experience testimonial videos to reflect on the thought-provoking experiences shared by Autistic people in Canada. We hope these videos increase knowledge and awareness about the barriers faced by Autistic people in Canada, and highlights benefits and key practices moving forward.

We hope that these lived experience testimonial videos will be shared and disseminated amongst employers, employment support agencies and relevant workers, and individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Together, we can create autism-confident workplaces in a world beyond COVID-19.