Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. It has many subtypes that are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, and therefore people with autism will display a range of different strengths and challenges and require different levels of support. Autism Awareness Month hopes to spread awareness in order to educate on how best to support those with autism, both at home and in the workplace.
There is no cure for autism, however early intervention has been shown to improve the development of children with autism. Early intervention strategies include being consistent with a child who has autism, through keeping a routine and rewarding good behavior through positive reinforcement. Intervention can also include speech therapy and other forms of therapy to aid in the child’s learning in and out of the classroom.
It has also been shown that there is a connection between autism and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Keeping a balanced diet and eliminating refined sugars and carbohydrates has had a proven and often significant impact on autism symptoms and behaviors. This can be a challenge for children with autism, who might prefer highly processed foods. Trying a few different diet plans such as Keto for Autism have been an effective intervention method for many families.
Autism in the Workplace
According to national data, an estimated 90% of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed. However, this high percentage is not due to an inability to perform job tasks, as there are many adults with autism who show their competence in all ranks of businesses and industries. Instead, it is due to job opportunities not being made available to them because of a lack of information and understanding of autism.
“Soft skills” are a reason for the challenges that individuals with autism face in the workplace. These include accepting feedback, interpersonal communication, and working collaboratively. Through spreading awareness and educating businesses on how people with autism can contribute to the organization and how best to support them, employers can utilize the unique strengths often shown by many people with autism such as attention to detail, consistency, creative thinking, and excelling on repetitive tasks. Recent autism-specific hiring initiatives have proven very beneficial to a growing list of corporations around the world.
How to Get Involved
The Autism Society of America is celebrating National Autism Awareness Month with the addition of a “Celebrate Differences” campaign, in the hopes of building awareness of the realities of autism and providing information on how to be more inclusive in everyday life. Visit the Autism Awareness Month website and follow #CelebrateDifferences on social media.