Harris Roxborough, 33, has spent years out of work – but says it’s often tiny obstacles that stand in the way of autistic people like her.

“It can be as small as having to dress up for an interview. Smart clothes are never comfortable, and you can be squirming in your seat unable to think about anything else,” says Harris, who was diagnosed at 14.

“Interview questions can be ambiguous or they’re not focused on the job itself. You’re trying to be the person they want you to be, rather than who you are, which can be difficult for neurodivergent people.

And when you’re one person facing a bunch of others across a desk, that’s very intimidating.

At TT2, the hiring process was very different. She and her future colleagues could wear whatever they liked, and they discussed the role and its specific requirements with a manager in an informal way.

Getting a job is only part of the story. Disabled people are entitled to reasonable adjustments in the workplace under the Equality Act (2010) but not all employers are willing to implement them. 

Harris says: “My last job was as a stocktaker and my employer initially put the adjustments in place. But then the manager changed after a couple of years and they weren’t interested. I ended up quitting for my physical and mental health.

“One small thing for you can be a very large thing for us.

When I joined TT2, my manager kept asking what he could do to help us. I found it difficult at first because I’m not used to that and I didn’t want to be a bother.

"But I find it easier now, because even if something is not possible immediately, they try their best to work with me for a solution.”

As a result, Harris has changed her working pattern from two full days to three five-hour days. She has an allocated desk, and she’s allowed to listen to music over headphones to help her focus on her screen.

Harris loves her job, which involves reviewing pictures from automatic number plate recognition cameras and matching them to the payment system. It gives her a routine, it boosts her self-esteem, and she enjoys the challenge of getting it right.

And TT2 also benefits. Harris is precise and focused in her work and takes pride in her productivity statistics, which she logs in a little book.

“Lots of people come up and say they couldn’t do what I do for more than an hour, because they’d get bored and hate it,” she says

“But I find it fun! I review thousands of images a month. Neurodivergent people are often very hard-working, especially at stuff that they’re good at.”

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