Autism Acceptance Month Q&A with Connor Johnson
In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, auticon Platform Engineer Connor Johnson shares his employment journey, his autistic strengths, what autism acceptance means to him, and what other employers should do to become more inclusive of autistic employees.
What is your favorite thing about working at auticon?
auticon not only gives me the space to be myself, but it is the first company I’ve been a part of that makes me feel encouraged to be me. They give me the kindness, support, and fairness that I was previously convinced didn’t exist in the workforce.
What’s something you’re good at in your job that you think is a strength of autism?
Attention to detail and pattern recognition have been Autistic strengths for my job. Sifting through long chunks of information is something I do often, and my Autism genuinely helps scan and find the important pieces quickly.
What does autism acceptance mean to you?
For me, it means to treat us equally like we are any other "normal" person that you interact with, while still understanding that we all, neurotypicals included, have differences to embrace. We are capable and amazing people with a lot to give, we just operate differently and deserve to operate without fear of isolation or chastisement.
What is the most important thing companies should do to become more inclusive of autistic employees?
Completely revamp the interview process to be more inclusive and straightforward, similar to how Auticon gives pre-interview questionnaires to allow for answer-processing time. So many qualified Autistic people fall through the cracks of good companies because they struggle to make a good impression during the initial interview process.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work experiences or autism in the workplace?
For 10 years, I worked diligently and feverishly in the food-service industry because they were the only companies willing to hire me based on what I could do rather than my social aptitude. auticon giving me a chance to prove that I can do so much more has already transformed my life, and it hasn’t even been 3 months yet!