Thursday, April 6, 2017

April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month!

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. Approximately 3 million individuals are on the Autism Spectrum in the United States.

Being on the Autism Spectrum can impact an individual’s journey toward employment, especially when competing against others in interviewing and networking settings. The unemployment rate for individuals on the Autism Spectrum is 42% - higher than other types of disabilities.

All of us can take action to advocate for individuals on the Spectrum in the workplace, and many individuals find April, Autism Awareness Month, a natural time to engage in education and advocacy at their places of employment. We also encourage you to Celebrate Neurodiversity – which means to recognize and celebrate the benefits that different ways of thinking, such as those associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ADHD, offer to the workplace!

Here are some suggested activities for you and your workplace:

  1. 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. We offer training for employers on how to make their recruiting, training, and managing processes inclusive to employees on the Autism Spectrum.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Show your support with us!  RIT students, staff, and community members have been showing their support for the ASD community on Twitter using the hashtags #AutismAcceptanceRIT and #AcceptanceIs. We’ve included some of our favorite pictures here – come see the rest at @SSPatRIT on Twitter. Show your support using the signs attached and share with us what Autism Acceptance means to you!
I am a person, not just autistic Autism Dad
A tiger, a student, an ally A tiger, a student, an ally
Contact Janine at jmroce@rit.edu for more information, and follow along on Twitter: #AcceptanceIs. Want your own “Celebrate Neurodiversity” swag to display in the workplace? Contact Janine at jmroce@rit.edu.

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