Celebrating Thomas Howard: the autism spectrum and professional growth

We sat down with Thomas Howard, a Practice Plus Group employee to talk about inclusive workplace culture, supportive recruitment processes, and the autism spectrum.

Thomas Howard

As someone on the autism spectrum, I know how hard it is to find and secure a job. Employers often struggle to provide the necessary support and accommodations, leaving individuals like me feeling overlooked and isolated in social settings. But at Practice Plus Group, it’s a different story. Here, I feel that I am a part of a team and am contributing toward the success of the business.

In the past, I have found the recruitment process difficult, as I am often placed into unfamiliar settings and surrounded by unfamiliar people. Not knowing the process causes me unnecessary stress and anxiety. However, my experience with Practice Plus Group was refreshingly different. Every step was clearly communicated through emails, allowing me to plan each stage accordingly and not be caught out by any surprises.

“I found the willingness of the company to support all team members, regardless of any disability or neurodiverse condition really encouraging.”

Thomas Howard, Practice Plus Group employee

During my interview, conducted over MS Teams, I felt a sense of relief knowing I did not have to worry about giving eye contact. This helped alleviate some of my social anxieties. Furthermore, the recruiting manager’s openness about the team’s diverse nature and ease in conversation made me comfortable enough to disclose my diagnosis. The recruiting manager responded in an extremely positive manner and highlighted the adjustments that could be made to make the role more accessible should I be successful. I found the willingness of the company to support all team members, regardless of any disability or neurodiverse condition really encouraging.

My autism affects most aspects of my day-to-day life, but contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean it is a hindrance. In fact, my mindset often assists me in my role at Practice Plus Group. For example, I am more than happy to take on repetitive tasks and actually enjoy the structure and routine such tasks offer. I often find my set tasks relaxing, even if it is just running a daily report for business stakeholders. The main area of struggle for me is communication. I often take things literally and can struggle to understand hidden meanings and body language. This is something I have worked on over many years, and I have learned techniques to help me communicate effectively. Furthermore, my clear and concise nature and attention to detail are useful in my current role. For example, I often provide detailed instructions and step-by-step guides to system users that have raised a ticket with HRIS.

I’m proud to be part of a neurodiverse team, where our manager goes above and beyond to raise awareness about neurodiversity and how each of us should be seen and treated as an individual. The company recognises the importance of recruiting and retaining diverse talent. In summary, at Practice Plus Group, I feel – happy, included, and respected.