Many of us already know someone on the Autism Spectrum (US Census Bureau estimates that 7 million Americans are closely related to someone on the Spectrum). All of us can take action to advocate for individuals on the Spectrum in the workplace, and many individuals find April, Autism Awareness Month, and natural time to engage in education and advocacy at their places of employment.
Here are some suggested activities for you and your workplace:
Education: Become informed on the benefits of hiring individuals on the Spectrum and steps that your organization can take to become more ASD-inclusive. Our video, Hiring on the Spectrum, is a great place to start. Visit our Recruiting students with disabilities page or Spectrum Support Program page for more information. You can also download our Hiring on the Spectrum Employer Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders. RIT is also available to provide training for your organization on recruitment, hiring, and supervisory strategies for those working with someone on the Autism Spectrum.
Community Engagement: Support ASD organizations by becoming a corporate sponsor or designating them the beneficiary of corporate fundraising efforts. Volunteer for or attend local events ASD-related as a group. AutismUp is a Rochester-based organization; a list of organizations by state is available here.
Connect with individuals: Lend your expertise to job-seekers on the Spectrum. RIT Career Services regularly holds networking events for students on the Autism Spectrum to connect with professionals and is always looking for mentors. Consider hosting a group of job seekers on the Autism Spectrum to your organization for a tour and networking session. Contact DisabilityRecruit@rit.edu for more information, and follow along on Twitter - #AcceptanceIs.
Janine Rowe, MSEd., NCC
Career Counselor | Assistant Director of Disability Services
RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education