2nd April 2021
By Tracie Linehan, CEO
World Autism Awareness Week is the perfect backdrop to not only raise awareness, it can be a catalyst for change. As we emerge from the pandemic let’s take the opportunity to view the world around us with a fresh perspective. Look around you: do you live in a community that is inclusive of people with autism? Your shops, places of worship, parks, cafes and pubs can all take simple steps as they reopen to create environments that include everyone – clear signage, maintaining respectful space, smiles and patience.
The return to school has challenged all teachers to put mental health and wellbeing at the forefront. This has resulted in creative solutions that reduce anxiety and redress the balance of academia alongside social communication and relationships. We should maintain this new emphasis with individualised strategies that will reduce school placement breakdown for the long term.
As the economy and businesses seek to recover, an opportunity exists to do things differently and to broaden employment structures. Job carving, role matching, and making reasonable adjustments should be embraced in our post-pandemic world. Be the employer who adjusts recruitment processes to include people with autism, seeking support from organisations like ours along the way. Together we can turn employment figures on their head by ensuring over 80% of people with autism are in employment, compared with the current figure of just 21.7%.
The pandemic has provided a pause, a chance to reflect and a time to emerge with open eyes and open doors. Beginning as we mean to go on – inclusive, willing to do things differently and empowering of people with autism.