Hello all. I’m new here and hoped someone may be able to help me, or whether anyone has experience with this. I have searched the forum but couldn’t find anything quite like the issue I have.
I have been in continuous employment at one company for the last 7 years. I am a female in my 30s.
I am currently going through the autism diagnostic process with the NHS. I have completed Stage 1 and have been invited back for Stage 2, though I don’t have a date for this yet.
I do intend to tell work if a diagnosis is confirmed, however something has come up and I may need to disclose this earlier than anticipated.
Has anyone been in a situation like this before? Is it worth telling them even though I don’t know if it will be confirmed?
I found that telling work was necessary to get adjustments I needed in any case - I had a massive burnout and wouldn't have been able to get back on track at work without talking about suspecting ASD to highlight what was exhausting and stressing me.
I would think if you've been there 7 years, they would know and value you and react with understanding (apart from the fact that they're legally obliged to).
My diagnosis may yet turn out negative formally, but has already confirmed on paper the difficulties that my "reasonable adjustments" are based on, so it probably doesn't matter as far as work goes.
I personally would think very carefully about disclosure at all.
I'm sorry if this sounds incredibly negative but my personal experience is that I am autistic and have told no one. I still get the same respect and opportunities.
A "friend" who is incredibly open about being autistic definitely doesn't not get the same respect and the same opportunities.
Of course, we are not the same person, we have different personalities and skills. However, my advice remains that I would be very carefully considering all the factors before disclosing anything at all.
I don't know your exact circumstances but do the benefits of disclosing definitely outweigh the potential cost of disclosing? Some people are met by very understanding employers and colleagues but this is definitely not the case for all.
The exception for my thinking on this matter is when you initially are offered a job and go through the occupational health screening. At that point you must disclose any condition that may impact your ability to work but that information can be kept entirely confidential and never given to the people you work with directly. You could still potentially go through occupational health to "disclose" though I don't have experience of exactly how that would work.
Check company policies and procedures to start with - Mental Health, Diversity, Equality, Reasonable Changes, Sickness, etc as they identify key information. Be aware that Equality Act 2010 states you do not need a diagnosis (or if you do then your employer does not need to be told - from my employers company policies).
I would document things to cover your back - put it in writing to your manager/HR and Occupational Health (They may provide an Advice Note for a Temporary/Permanent restriction to cover yourself and the company).
Being fully open, the bullying damager would not believe it until a full diagnosis (even though OH advice note covered me) which means outside procedure and discrimination. This is approaching a peak now after 18 months yet I am still waiting for full diagnosis.
Do not be put off disclosing or not but make sure you understand the background within your company.
Hello! I told work at the end of last year before my official diagnosis (which I now have) as a situation arose and I feel I needed to explain myself.
Thanks. I didn’t realise reasonable adjustments could be made without a diagnosis.
In a way I wish I had gone through the process earlier in life as I have really struggled.
Luckily, I have a good manager so I stuck it out.
Thanks for your input. I will certainly bear this in mind.
Thanks, I will find out about the policies and procedures.
Hi, did this work out well for you?
It did because it explained my slightly awkward way of being, I could get time off for assessment appointments and giving them my diagnosis came as no surprise. Now I can get support
Similarly, I told my immediate team at the start of the year that I was undergoing assessment for ASD - it explained the frequent 'Dr appointments' I was attending, plus there were a couple of low-level 'incidents' where I was... overly honest in my feedback on a subject (!) and it seemed appropriate to provide some sort of explanation...
When I got the diagnosis I told the overall manager - I was the second person in 2 weeks to let him know they'd been diagnosed with ASD as an adult.