For Autistic and Neurodivergent Adults 18+

Back to Work Coaching

As an Autistic psychotherapist and certified executive coach, I benefit from ongoing support through supervision, a reflective practice allowing professionals to discuss their work with a supervisor to ensure quality and ethical standards. While my profession provides this necessary support, many Autistic employees lack this in their workplaces. This highlights the need for consistent and skilled coaching from Autistic practitioners for Autistic employees.

In 2020, the Office for National Statistics reported a low employment rate of 21.7% for Autistic people. As a proud member of this community, I recognise the significant challenges in adjusting to work settings and personally understand the cycle of overwork and burnout.

How our economy works often increases the challenges of returning to work, as financial barriers can prevent access to necessary support, and without support, it becomes even harder to work and earn money. This prompted the idea of Back to Work Coaching, specifically designed for Autistic and Neurodivergent folks and here is why…


The problem:
Several studies have highlighted the challenges Autistic people face in employment. These include a disparity between their skills and job roles, biases from non-autistic employees, disadvantages in traditional interview processes, and a preference for meaningful employment. These employment barriers can lead to psychological difficulties such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, burnout, social isolation, and overall reduced well-being. This means that neither traditional coaching nor mental health support alone fully meets the needs of Autistic people in employment contexts. A combined approach, integrating coaching with therapeutic considerations would be ideal.


The options:
Combining coaching and psychotherapy by practitioners with the same neurotype as the client is beneficial, considering the distinct communication styles between neurodivergent and neurotypical people. This approach addresses the “double empathy problem” identified by Autistic researcher Damian Milton in 2012, which highlights the mutual empathy challenges across different neurotypes. Understanding and empathy are enhanced when both practitioner and client share similar neurological experiences, facilitating more effective support and engagement.


The funding:
Self-funding is the simplest option for accessing Back to Work Coaching, and if you’re self-employed, you can deduct this expense. There is also Access to Work, which is a UK government initiative aimed at assisting disabled people to enter or return to employment. It provides financial support for work-related coaching. Check eligibility on the Department for Work and Pensions site. Application is straightforward but can take up to 12 weeks. If you’re facing challenges at work and are currently employed, I’m prepared to discuss with your organisation how my service could benefit them.