Autism Awareness Week this year is from Monday the 27th of March to the 2nd of April although World Autism Acceptance Day itself falls on Sunday 2nd April. This week is crucial to spread awareness and educate people about how Autism impacts people in their daily lives as well as their professional lives. This week encourages people to promote inclusivity and help build a promising environment for autistic people, supporting them where they need it the most.
The word Autism comes from the medical term, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is not an illness or a disease, it is simply a condition that means that your brain works differently from other people. This is usually something people are born with and although this is not a medical condition that has a “cure”, there are a lot of things that can be done to support people with autism. Those who have autism have different strengths and weaknesses but usually autism impacts one’s social skills.
Autism can present in different ways with different people. Mostly for autistic people, it is generally difficult for them to communicate with others and they also react differently to their surroundings. As an employer, it is very important to create an autism-friendly environment to allow for those with the disability to adapt easily and encourage positive development.
As an employer, in order to make your workplace autism-friendly, you could ask employees with autism regarding any work equipment that they find distracting and provide them with noise-cancelling headphones, screens around their desk and monitors or having a desk somewhere they find they are less likely to feel distracted. Making small changes in your workplace can help your employees to feel more comfortable in their surroundings and can also encourage their productivity during the day. It is also important for employers to encourage positive communication among staff members, as people who have autism can easily feel anxious in stressful situations, so it is important to be able to provide reassurance sensitively to those who need it.
For Autism Awareness Week at AI Global Media, we have put together a week of fundraising activities to raise money for Fountains High School in Stretton, Burton. Many children with special needs often miss out on everyday experiences and with our fundraising activities in the office, we hope to raise some money to donate to the school which can be put towards providing these experiences for the children. Our fundraising activities include games, quizzes and competitions that we will be hosting office-wide and accepting donations for participation as well as encouraging local businesses in the area to participate by donating some money towards fundraiser.
To support the autistic community, please donate to the National Autistic Society to help make a difference: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/donate
Sources for article: https://www.beyondautism.org.uk/about-autism/events/world-autism-acceptance-week/