What is Disclosure?
Disclosure means a person decides to share some aspects of their disability, difference or condition to others within their environment, such as at work, or in other settings such as with friends or with family.
The person has the choice on whether they wish to disclose their disability, along with how much information they want to reveal about themselves and to whom they wish to be open about their autistic identity, or indeed any disabilities they may have.
Every autistic person, as with other disabled people, has different ideas or feels differently about the disclosure process and how much, if anything, that they want to reveal to others. For example, an autistic person may feel that they need to disclose that they’re autistic to their managers to obtain support at work, but may not feel comfortable sharing their diagnosis with colleagues, or vice versa.
Some people may, understandably, feel very reluctant to disclose any differences or disabilities that they have unless they encounter difficulties at work, and treat the process as a ‘need-to-know’. Other people might be very open and comfortable about their autistic identity, and may have no problems disclosing to colleagues to also raise awareness and educate colleagues at work, as well as to seek out support or accommodations for their needs. Others may feel that they have autistic traits, but might not have the opportunity, means or the know-how to pursue a formal autism diagnosis.
In any event, you should not feel pressured or obliged by anyone else to disclose if you don’t feel comfortable. All workplaces are obliged under the law to keep any personal information disclosed by you as confidential. All organisations also have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations if a disability is disclosed if the employee requests them.