The firm whose staff are all autistic

Jane Wakefield

On first inspection it seems like any other Los Angeles-based company, with tasteful art on the white walls and calm-inducing diffusers dotted about.

Peter describes the working atmosphere as "quiet, but fun", and especially likes the fact that there is no pressure to socialise, while Evan says of his employers that they are "very accommodating and understanding". Brian describes his office as "unique".

Auticon is one of only a handful of companies that cater exclusively for employees who are on the autistic spectrum.

Formerly known as MindSpark before being acquired by German-based Auticon, the firm was founded by Gray Benoist who, as the father of two autistic sons, saw few options in the workplace that could cater for their needs.

"Both are incredibly capable and smart and deserve an opportunity to be able to express that," he told the BBC on a recent visit to the company.

"I felt that the gap had to be filled and there was no other way to fill it than by taking action myself."

He started the firm in 2013 and it has now grown to more than 150 employees. His oldest son, also called Gray, now works in the finance team.

"Our mission is about enabling a group who have been disenfranchised. There are many segments of society that are under-utilised and people on the autistic spectrum are one of them," he said.

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