One thing we always say to adults we support is that disclosing is something we advocate for. If an employer does not see the benefit of having you on their team or refuses adjustments at an early stage then are they the right employer for you?
Below are a few hints and tips on disclosing at different stages of the application process
Most application forms will include some form of health question, asking if you have any disability or health needs. If you tick no at this stage and then later on are unhappy with the way you have been treated you may struggle to challenge this as you have ticked that you have no support needs. If you tick yes, you can usually add comments near this and we would always recommend using a comments box to type something along the lines of “I may appear nervous or awkward during my interview due to my disability, this is not a reflection on my abilities but because I am trying to adapt to a new situation and under pressure because of how much I want the role. If successful, once settled my anxiety will ease”. This will ensure that if you avoid eye contact in the interview that the employer will not misunderstand this and see this as a lack of interest and will take this into account when looking at your performance at interview.
When you have been offered a job interview, most employers will again ask you at this stage if you require any adjustments to the interview. You could at this stage ask for the questions up front for instance as an adjustment or ask for more information on the structure of the interview so that you know what to prepare for. You can explain that this is due to your Neurodivergent needs and to help you overcome any anxieties at interview. This is helpful to give you more opportunity to prepare for the interview and to disclose your disability with asking for minor adjustments without worrying about being a burden at this stage.
Once you have your job offer if you have not already disclosed then now is a good time to do this, your employer cannot retract your job offer due to your disability unless there are significant parts of your job that you cannot do and that adjustments will not help you overcome this. You could ask your employer if you could apply to Access to Work for a workplace needs assessment prior to starting your role, reassuring your employer that by doing this now that any adjustments needed would be fully funded by Access to Work as a new employee.
If you have already started your role and/ or have a late diagnosis after you got the job then you might want to ask for a meeting with your manager. Before the meeting make some notes of the important things you need to tell them, such as things you might need more support with – with each one try to come up with a suggestion of what support might help you. This way you are going to your employer with solutions.
If you are unsure on what support you need you could arrange a call with a member of our team to discuss our workplace coaching and mentoring and we can help you identify support needs at work, working alongside you and your employer.