Why is it important to spread awareness about autism.

Author : mark01
Publish Date : 2021-08-28 08:36:16


Why is it important to spread awareness about autism.

Autism Awareness Starts With You!

In many ways, mental illness is becoming more socially acceptable in recent years. The virulent spread of social media gives everyone a voice, and the internet means that there is a vast array of information and articles on just about every condition under the sun. All of this exposure is helping to normalize and destigmatize mental illness, as well as making more people take a look at their own mental health. However, there are some mental illnesses that still remain in the shadows, are misunderstood, and often miss- or undiagnosed, and autism is one of these.

The Autism Spectrum

One of the biggest challenges facing the normalization of autism in the workplace is the broad spectrum of symptoms and presentations that make up the condition. Unlike other mental illnesses which have a very specific set of behaviors and often set treatments (both medical and therapeutic), autistic individuals can fall anywhere on the spectrum which will impact the amount of support that they will need to be successful in the workforce. There is also currently no medical treatment for autism and no cure through therapy; autistic people are often required to work out survival strategies to help them cope in a world heavily biased towards neurotypical brains.

What Is Autism Awareness?

            This is why autism awareness is essential across all sectors of society. Put simply, autism awareness is anything that you can do to help others understand the prevalence of the condition (currently 1 in 70 Canadians have been diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum) and ways in which you can make the world a more autism friendly employers place. These acts of autism awareness come in many different varieties:

  • Wear blue - Canada officially recognizes April 2nd as World Autism Day and it’s a day to wear something blue to get people thinking and research about autism. As awareness about the day, and the association of blue with autism, rises, autistic individuals will begin to see visual signs of support and understanding which will make it easier for them to talk about their condition.
  • Start the conversation - change has to start somewhere, and the best way to change society’s negative stereotypes about autism is to talk about it. Busting commonly held myths and misconceptions can be hard and lead to some awkward conversations, but it is the only way that society moves towards accepting autistic people as the unique and talented individuals that they are.
  • Get involved - if you are truly serious about spreading autism awareness and want to go further than just your immediate circles of influence, you should consider joining activist groups and donating time or money to political causes that will seek to push forward autism-friendly legislation.

Autism Awareness In The Workplace

            One of the biggest places to make a difference about autism awareness is your workplace. It’s estimated that 80% of autistic adults in British Columbia are either unemployed or in work that doesn’t make use of their skills and qualifications (i.e. they are underemployed). By increasing the autistic working population, you can change public perception of their value to society. Some ways to improve autism awareness at work include:

  • Informal discussions - the first step to take is to talk about autism at lunch or around the proverbial water cooler. You don’t want to make it an awkward forced conversation, but as mental health gets discussed you could bring some useful statistics in and talk about positive autism stories.
  • Autism training - a more holistic way to raise autism awareness is to talk with your company about autism training. Most autism talent management agencies will offer some sort of myth-busting autism awareness training and this simple act may encourage those who have an autism spectrum diagnosis to come forward and talk about their needs and preferences in the workplace.
  • Pushing for inclusive hiring - finally, if you are truly committed to making the world a more autism-friendly place, you should get involved with any hiring committee. Most hiring practices are heavily weighted towards neurotypical individuals. However, by modifying the application process and setting up a group or project-based interview sessions, you can attract more autistic workers to your company.

Did you know that individuals on the spectrum have the highest unemployment and underemployment rates of any other demographic? Did you know that they are as diversified in their abilities and interests as any other demographic? Did you know that the median salary in Canada for an AS-employed individual is $2,900 a year? Yes, you read that right. Together we can change this picture. And who benefits: you do.

It can be hard to engage in some of these autism awareness workplace activities by yourself, which is why you should encourage your organization to team up with an autism employment support agency. Not only will they find qualified and talented autistic workers for your company, but they’ll also bring expertise and training for your company as you take the first steps towards making autism acceptable across Canada.



Category : business

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