World Autism Awareness Day

    World Autism Awareness Day

     Here at HDN we’ve been researching Neuro-diversity much more over the past 12 months in our quest to support society and workplaces to be inclusive for all.

    It isn’t always easy to identify people on the autism spectrum and those with such a diagnosis can go on to lead happy and successful lives. But they also often need help and understanding to make them feel totally part of society. And getting jobs can present other challenges. Autism is a neurological development disorder which can result in difficulty with social communication and sometimes repetitive behaviour. So a job application can be daunting and difficult.

    But the savvy recruiters know that candidates with autism can bring qualities and talents beyond other workers. They typically possess greater attention to detail, efficiency and above average ability to follow instructions, logical thinking and information retention. These traits often make people on the autism spectrum strong in science and engineering as well as good candidates for jobs such as data analysts, policy advisors and copywriters.

    In the housing sector neuro-diversity can bring talent to jobs such as web-designing, legal advice and, of course, bring the care, and attention to detail, needed on every Housing Association Board.

    So while patience and understanding may be needed in social situations, autistic people should be confident in the job market.

    Why talk about this now?

    Well Sunday 2nd April is World Autism Awareness Day, a time to recognise and spread awareness for the understanding for, and help needed, by people with autism. And while we’ve discussed how those at the high functioning end of the spectrum can thrive in the community and workplace, severe autism can be debilitating and require different housing and living needs.

    Supportive housing for autistic adults can be provided with staff support and in a variety of settings, but support housing can be difficult for autistic people to access. Housing shortages and limited resources shouldn’t prohibit people with autism from living how, where and with who they like.

    Knowledge of neuro-diversity has increased dramatically since the first historical appearance of the word ‘Autism’ in 1911 by the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used the term to describe people with extreme social withdrawal. And, in 1944, Hans Asperger published his ‘Autism Psychopathology Article’ where he described autism as a disorder of normal intelligence children who have difficulties with social and communication skills.

    We now know that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is over four times more prevalent in boys than girls. According to the Child Mind Institute this is because girls often go undiagnosed as they don’t fit autism stereotypes and they mask symptoms better than boys.

    So with Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd April, let’s do all we can to be aware of the characteristics of autistic people and promote understanding and kindness.

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