It can feel that every month has special significance that affects one group or another. Black History Month is in March to highlight the need to understand and celebrate Black achievements, while October marks Breast Cancer Awareness, encouraging women to take care of their personal health. Observing these special months raises awareness in general and lets all employees know that their needs are being respected and heard.
April marks Autism Awareness Month, which is a time when there is access to highlighted learnings about this often misunderstood condition. The goal of the month is to make it easier for autistic individuals to take their place in society by educating us. There are many reasons for employers to observer Autism Awareness Month, including:
- It’s an invisible condition – one of the hardest parts to understand about autism is that it can have serious affects in a person’s life but have no visible physical cause. It’s entirely possible for autistic individuals to go undiagnosed for years, even into adulthood, especially for females. With diagnostic tools improving and better understanding and recognition of autism, more people are diagnosed as on the spectrum. The result is that it’s likely there will be employees in your organization who know someone on the spectrum. Autism Awareness Month gives them a chance to talk about their experiences, and for the organization to examine its own hiring and retention practices.
- People with autism make great employees – there are several thousands of adults on the spectrum in British Columbia who are employable. They can be conscientious, loyal, detail-oriented, and tenacious. For example, their productivity can be up to 140% higher than your neurotypical employees.
- It builds empathy and understanding – Discussions, training and recommended reading are all great ways to get people in your workplace talking and thinking about autism.
One big step towards a more neurodiverse and equal workplace is to use Autism Awareness Month as an opportunity to explore hiring someone on the autism spectrum. The key to success is to partner with experts in employing autistic talent such as Orbital. By doing so, you will have dedicated experts on hand not only to find you the best quality candidates but also to provide you and your staff with training and support to make your workplace autism-friendly.