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Inclusive Employers is the UK’s first and leading membership organisation for employers looking to build inclusive workplaces.

What is Autism Acceptance Month?

Autism Acceptance Month is designed to support autistic people and serves many purposes. It is an opportunity to:

  1. Raise awareness about autism. There are still misconceptions about what autism is and the month gives people an opportunity to learn more about autism and autistic people.
  2. Promote acceptance of autistic people. Many autistic people experience exclusion due to people’s lack of understanding about autism, so this event is a call to action for autistic allies to do more to include autistic people in society and in the workplace.
  3. Celebrate autistic colleagues. Celebrating autistic role models can help promote acceptance of autistic people and increase the public’s understanding of their experiences.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how some people communicate and interact with the world. For example, some autistic people may have excellent communication skills but experience over or under-sensitivity to light, sound, taste or touch. Other autistic people may experience social anxiety and need support with social communication. This is why autism is referred to as being on a “spectrum” because many autistic people experience it differently.

When is the awareness month?

Autism Acceptance Month takes place annually during the entire month of April.

Why is the month needed?

The Neurodiversity Movement has made a lot of progress in changing the way we think about autism and other neurological differences such as dyslexia, depression, etc., but autistic people still face a lot of challenges due to discrimination and lack of accommodations.

For example, a report by the Office for National Statistics shows that autistic people are the least likely to be in work of any other disabled group. Just 21.7% of autistic people are in employment, even though it’s estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have an autism diagnosis.

This is not only unfair to autistic people who would succeed in employment with the right accommodations, but employers are also missing out on the many benefits of employing autistic people. For example, Patrick Bardsley, co-founder and CEO of Spectrum Designs Foundation, found that Autistic employees have a retention rate of up to 90%, behave professionally in the workplace and can be great at problem solving.

Autism Acceptance Month exists to celebrate the positive contributions of autistic people to society, and to get everyone thinking differently about how we can make society more accessible to autistic people and more accepting of neurological differences.

From our expert:

“I want employers to use Autism Acceptance Month as an opportunity to break taboos about autism. I want organisations to speak more openly about autism and celebrate autistic colleagues, and I want autistic people to feel confident enough to be their true selves at work. Let’s make it possible for autistic people to say: “I’m autistic” at job interviews and not have it impact their employment opportunities.”

Marketing and Communications Executive, Zeinab Ali. 

Key facts about this month

Here are a few quick facts to know:

How to promote autism acceptance at work

Consider using the following resources:

Get in touch

If you would like help to bring these activities to life in your workplace, please reach out to Inclusive Employers and we can talk about how we can best support you to do this.

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