by LISA RABASCA ROEPE
Originally published: February 17, 2017
As more people with autism and ADHD begin to advocate for themselves at work, some employers are changing their workplaces.
When Sam Briefer, 23, was hired by Ernst & Young last year, he had two concerns: that he wouldn’t make friends with his coworkers, and that his office environment would distract him from his work.
These sound like the concerns of any new hire, but for Briefer, they went beyond typical new-hire jitters because he has autism. He was hired after graduating from college as part of the company’s pilot program to recruit employees who have been diagnosed with autism. The company plans to expand this program, says Lori Golden, diverse abilities strategy leader at Ernst & Young.
Briefer says all of his concerns were unfounded, in part because of the support Ernst & Young provides. He says he is friendly with his coworkers and has socialized with them a few times after work. He’s allowed to listen to music using headphones because it helps him to concentrate on his tasks and, when an assignment to schedule multiple Skype meetings for his team became a bit overwhelming for him, Briefer’s manager and job coach helped him to find the solution of delegating and asking coworkers for help.