Firms are hiring more autistic people. No, it’s not ‘woke’ ...

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Firms are hiring more autistic people. No, it’s not ‘woke’ box-ticking

Actually, amid news of an autism pill, embracing neurodiversity is a hard-nosed business decision

Luke Mintz and Dominic Penna

As Sarah O’Brien sits down at her desk each morning, she does her best to ignore the ticking of the wall clock nearby. Kettles, traffic and the sound of her colleagues’ laughter can also prove distracting, and she frequently becomes agitated by the glare of the fluorescent strip lights affixed to the ceiling of her north London office.

Most of us could go our whole careers without ever noticing such minor annoyances, but they can prove overwhelming for somebody like O’Brien, who was diagnosed six years ago with autism spectrum disorder.

“Sensory aspects are the worst. [I’m] hypersensitive to light, sound and temperature – all things which are really difficult to regulate in an office,” says the 24-year-old, who works as a policy officer at the Ambitious About Autism charity. “Every ambient noise feels like it’s turned up.”..

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