auticon, a social enterprise that employs adults with autism in roles as quality assurance analysts and IT consultants working on software and web-based applications, is encouraging businesses to participate in World Autism Awareness Day. Recognized internationally on April 2 each year, World Autism Awareness Day encourages Member States of the United Nations to raise awareness about neurodiversity. Companies are being challenged to participate in the day by making simple changes to their office environment to better accommodate workers with autism.
Autistic adults often have extraordinary cognitive abilities, such as logic, pattern recognition, precision, sustained concentration, and an ability to intuitively spot errors; yet many find it difficult to secure or maintain mainstream employment. Market studies show that only 15 to 20 percent of autistic people work within the mainstream labor market, often despite being highly qualified. auticon taps into this potential by supporting autistic adults with job coaches and project managers and produces a win-win-win situation for clients, autistic analysts, as well as society.
Office design plays an essential role in reducing stress for adults with autism, who may have sensitivities to noise, bright lights, and social interactions common at work. Given this, auticon is challenging businesses to make one or more of the following changes to their office on April 2, 2019:
- Designate a quiet room in the office where workers can escape noise and commotion
- Dim bright lights; turn off fluorescent lights
- Reduce or eliminate background music in hallways, bathrooms and communal spaces
- Allow use of noise canceling headphones
- Provide healthy food options as many people on the spectrum have dietary restrictions
- Make participation in company social events optional
- Lower voices in hallway conversations
“We’re hopeful that businesses will see how these simple changes in the workplace can make a huge difference in everyone’s lives, particularly those with autism,” said Rebecca Beam, auticon U.S. President. “These changes could last the day, the week, the month or be made permanent.”
auticon invites companies to share their office changes, post photos, and show support for World Autism Awareness Day on social media using the hashtag #AutismAtWork.