A Reading-based charity has been awarded more than £95,000 to help people with autism find work.  The Kingwood Trust has been given the money by the Big Lottery Fund to improve employment chances of people in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.

The trust said it had developed a programme to help employers make the most of autistic staff and give them worthwhile employment.

The charity said just 15% of autistic people were employed full-time.

People with autism can have difficulty in interpreting emotions or meaning through tone of voice, facial expressions, body language and abstract spoken language.

The Kingwood Trust said job applications and the interview process could be especially challenging for autistic applicants because of the emphasis on communication skills.

‘Harnessing skills’

Trust chief executive Sue Osborn said: “However profound the disability, organisations can restructure their work to ensure that people with autism can contribute.

“An example of this is job carving, whereby you create a job for someone by identifying the person’s skills and matching them to tasks your organisation needs doing.

“In my view, with a bit of imagination, any organisation can become autism friendly.

“If you look at the high functioning end of the spectrum, many people with autism have a high level of skills in areas such as IT.

“It’s about giving people the right support and harnessing their skills in order to engage with the working world.

“This isn’t about charity, it’s about realising people’s potential in society.”

According to the National Autistic Society, there are more than 300,000 working-age adults with autism in the UK.