Making the Technology Workplace Autism Ready

Principal Investigator: Hala Annabi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UW Information School

Co-Principal Investigator: Andrew Begel, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research

Co-Investigator: Jill Locke, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, UW Speech and Hearing Sciences

Co-Investigator: Gary Stobbe, M.D., UW School of Medicine

Due to the heterogeneity of autism symptoms and abilities, early studies revealed that autistic employees may experience isolation in the workplace. The practitioner and academic communities know little about how to best prepare the technology workplace to include and support autistic individuals in order to enable their success and advancement. The proposed research aims to: 1) understand and measure the knowledge and perceptions of neurotypical technology autistic workers; 2) determine best practices regarding the recruitment, retention, and advancement of autistic workers; 3) design and deploy interventions (in the form of training, job design, and an awareness campaign) to address gaps in knowledge and empower autistic IT professionals and their neurotypical colleagues to work effectively together; and 4) assess the impact of our interventions on knowledge and perceptions of neurotypical IT professionals and satisfaction of autistic professionals. The goal of our study is to transform the technology workplace into a “work ready” environment for autistic individuals.