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  • Writer's picturePatty Laushman

Working With Autism: Passing the First 90 Days of Employment

By Patty Laushman

Starting a new job can be a milestone filled with mixed emotions – excitement, anticipation, and for many, a lot of anxiety. This can be especially true for autistic employees the first 90 days of a new job when you know the employer is deciding if you are cutting it or not. 

Working with autism means going out of your way to develop strong relationships with alliesing hands with and getting to know a new employee.

The first 90 days of a new job serve as a critical time for setting a positive trajectory in your career and establishing yourself as a valuable team member. It is also when you must adapt to a new role and overcome several challenges before becoming comfortable with your position. Also, many companies look at the first 90 days as a sort of “trial period” where they are looking to see how valuable you will be to the company.

Working with autism means you have to face the usual challenges everyone faces when starting a new job, in addition to some unique ones. Those unique challenges could include social challenges, needing to be more flexible than expected, or a sensory-unfriendly office space. No matter what challenges arise, autistic individuals will need to prepare themselves for any challenges they face transitioning to a new job.

This post will be a guide for autistic individuals beginning the first 90 days of a new job. It will detail what can be done to make the first day go smoothly and what can be done throughout the remaining period. Whether you're just stepping into the professional world or transitioning to a new role, these insights are designed to empower you with the tools for a successful career.

What to Do on the First Day

The first day of a new job can be intimidating for anyone, not just autistic individuals. If you want to start your new job making the best possible impression, then you must prepare for it. Doing so can help you manage any anxieties you have about your role and ensure a smooth transition.

Someone conducting research on their place of employment.

Research the Company's Culture

Research the company’s culture and values. Even if you already researched the company when applying for it, do some more research anyway. This research can include reading about the company on its website, looking at social media profiles, or reaching out to current employees. 

Doing more research not only prepares you for joining the company but also helps you assess how well your own values and working style align with the organization.

Dress Appropriately

If you are working somewhere that doesn’t require a specific uniform, then learn the dress code. To gather this information, you might start by reaching out to your contacts at the company, such as a human resources representative or your future manager, and ask about the expected attire. Additionally, observing photos of employees on the company’s social media pages can offer insights into the daily dress code. 

Review Onboarding Materials

If you are provided with any onboarding materials or schedules before your first day, then make sure you review them thoroughly. By carefully examining these materials, you can understand what to expect from your first days. 

This includes getting an in-depth overview of your specific role, familiarizing yourself with the company's policies, and getting a sense of the workplace culture.

Working with autism successfully means planning your commute so you can arrive relaxed

Plan the Commute

Plan your commute in detail, including checking public transport schedules or mapping out driving routes. In addition, conduct a trial run of your commute before your first day. 

A practice run helps you accurately gauge the time needed to reach your workplace, factoring in potential traffic or transit delays. It’s also important to know how you’ll travel to work because showing up on time will help you be professional.

Be Open to Social Interactions

Introduce yourself and try to have basic small talk with your new colleagues. These interactions establish the foundation for future working relationships. 

By taking the initiative to introduce yourself and engage in light conversation, you not only make yourself known to your team but also demonstrate a willingness to be part of the community.

Ask for Clarifications

Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about something. It’s better to receive clarification early on than to make assumptions and then make mistakes! 

Asking questions not only helps you gain a clearer understanding of your tasks and responsibilities but also demonstrates your commitment to doing your job correctly and efficiently.

Working with autism means reflecting on the work this  woman got done that day

Reflect at the End of the Day

Take some time to reflect on your first day. Review what went well, what was challenging, and what you learned. Doing so allows you to examine various parts of your first day. 

This reflection not only helps you consolidate your experiences but also prepares you for subsequent days at your new job.

What You Can Do For The Remaining 89 Days

Ok, so we got the first day out of the way, but we are not out of this introductory period yet. There are still 89 days to go. You can use these remaining days to grow more comfortable with your position and further establish yourself as another capable member of the team.

Establish a Routine

Now that you are experienced with a workday, you can figure out how to schedule future days. Create a consistent daily routine to reduce anxiety and provide structure.  For example, a well-planned morning routine can set a positive tone for the day. Additionally, incorporating scheduled breaks throughout your day can help you maintain concentration and avoid burnout.

If you are in a job that requires you to respond to changing priorities, try to build in a few periods of the day where you can work on work that is less cognitively demanding to give your brain a chance to recharge. 

A planner that has a place for monthly goals laying open with a cup of coffee on it.

Set Clear Goals

Sit down with your boss and find out what they want you to achieve for the rest of your first 90 days. This can include understanding your role, learning new skills, or building relationships with colleagues. 

By defining specific goals, you create a roadmap for your early days in the role that guides your actions and decisions.

Seek Workplace Accommodations (If Needed)

If you require any accommodations to perform effectively, then make sure you secure them. This process may involve a detailed discussion with your employer to explain your needs, such as the requirement for a quiet workspace or flexible scheduling. 

Addressing these needs early not only ensures that you have the necessary support to succeed but also demonstrates your commitment to being proactive and responsible in managing your work responsibilities.

Build Professional Relationships

Engage in small talk and introductions to bond with new colleagues. These early interactions allow you to establish positive relationships within the workplace. 

A man working with autism successfully by building a relationship with a colleague

Beyond these initial interactions, consider finding a mentor or at least a friendly ally within the organization. A mentor can offer valuable guidance and support, helping you manage your new role and the workplace culture. They can also act as a sounding board for your ideas, offer advice and support based on their own experiences, and provide a sense of stability and direction as you settle into your new job.

Find Ways to Apply Your Strengths to the Company

You already received this position by proving you are capable of adding value to the company. Now is the time to leverage your strengths to the company’s benefit. 

Autistic individuals often have skills like the ability to think outside of the box or hyperfocus on a task. Depending on what strengths you have, figure out how you can use them to the benefit of your company.

Seek Feedback

A man successfully working with autism by asking for feedback from a colleague

Regularly seek feedback on your performance and be open to constructive criticism. Actively asking for and being open to constructive criticism provides you with valuable insights into how your work is perceived and what areas can be improved.

Your boss’s preferred communication style will come into play here. Some supervisors prefer to give feedback in the moment, but many are hesitant. You may need to ask to schedule a casual 15-minute meeting with them in the first weeks to formally ask for feedback.

This feedback can help you fine-tune your skills, adjust your work methods, and better align with the expectations and standards of your new position.

Figure Out a Good Work/Life Balance

Don’t forget to have a life outside of work. While it is tempting to keep working to prove yourself, spending too much time on work can be unhealthy. That’s why you should establish a balance between accomplishing what you need to do for your job and making sure you have time to yourself. 

These boundaries can help you stay excited about your work as it’s not consuming your life and you continue to have energy to give.


The first 90 days in a new job represent an important period of learning and adjustment. From the early steps of preparing for your first day through research and routine development to the later stages of building professional relationships and participating in group activities, each action plays a key role in establishing your presence in a new workplace.

Two people shaking hands.

As you progress through these first 90 days, remember the importance of setting clear goals, seeking feedback, and consistently reflecting on your experiences. These practices are not just about adjusting to a new role; they serve a fundamental role in your professional growth.

If you'd like a someone in your corner who is dedicated to your success, consider hiring one of the coaches at Thrive Autism Coaching. We will work with you each step of the way to maximize your chances of success. You can schedule a complimentary consultation to explore this here.

For autistic individuals starting in a new role, your unique perspectives and abilities are valuable assets in any work environment. Use your strengths and address challenges with strategic approaches, understanding that every experience offers a chance to learn. By applying these strategies, you will be well-equipped not just for success in your new job but also for a rich and rewarding career.

Here's to your success in your new role and all the accomplishments that lie ahead!


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