A COMPANY based in Skipton has become the first business in Yorkshire to receive recognition of its autism awareness from ‘neuro-diversity specialist consultants’ Creased Puddle.

Broughton Laboratories, based at the Broughton Hall Estate, started working towards the award a year ago and celebrated its success during ‘World Autism Awareness Week’ earlier this month.

The majority of businesses are used to conducting assessments for physical disabilities, but many lag behind where identifying hidden conditions are concerned, according to York-based Creased Puddle’s chief executive Caroline Turner.

Broughton Laboratories has made its services manager Katie Harrison ‘autism champion’ and has introduced inclusive workplace assessments and autism training for staff.

She said: “If we can assess the workplace properly, we can maximise the talents and skills of the individual; they are more productive and happier at work.”

Broughton Laboratories operations director Simon Cocks explained: “We wanted to make sure both our managers and team members had up-to-date training and knowledge of autism.

“We need to ensure that those who tell us of a disability in the future have the confidence that we know how to support them.”

The award was presented to staff by Caroline Turner, who said: “Broughton Laboratories’ commitment as a responsible employer is now very much part of their culture. They have demonstrated a willingness to listen to their neurologically different thinkers and created an environment which promotes disclosure of autism and other conditions.”

Statistics show that employers are starting to recognise that employing and supporting staff with these conditions bring benefits to business, too, she said. Autism diagnosis in children has increased by 229 per cent in the last five years. There has also been a significant rise in diagnosis of ADHD. Caroline Turner added: “More and more businesses are beginning to switch on to the fact that with a few small, inexpensive changes they can attract and retain employees with these talents.”