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Experiences of autistic and non-autistic individuals participating in a corporate internship scheme

Remington, Anna ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4299-8887, Heasman, Brett ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3621-3863, Romualdez, Anna Melissa ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6008-845X and Pellicano, Elizabeth ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7246-8003 (2021) Experiences of autistic and non-autistic individuals participating in a corporate internship scheme. Autism. p. 136236132110251.

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Abstract

Autistic people have significant challenges in obtaining and maintaining employment yet there remains a shortage of research in this area, especially research directly comparing the experiences of autistic individuals to their non-autistic colleagues in the same organisation. The present study examined the experiences of autistic and non-autistic interns, and their managers, taking part in a corporate internship scheme. Data were gathered via semi-structured interviews and online questionnaires prior to, and following, the internship. Many commonalties were identified, with both groups of interns and managers sharing positive journeys through the internship. Specific issues raised by autistic interns centred around impact of prior employment experiences, mental health and communication. Compared to managers of non-autistic interns, managers of autistic interns reported having a greater range of pre-internship concerns, including concerns about providing the right level of support, communicating successfully and being equitable in treatment of all employees. Structured delegation of tasks and flexible communication were successful strategies used by managers to support autistic interns; clear communication and more consistent support were perceived to benefit both intern groups. The findings highlight specific challenges experienced by autistic individuals in the workplace and suggest effective ways to ensure that autistic interns succeed alongside non-autistic peers.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211025115
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5408

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