April marks the beginning of World Autism Month, with the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. We are thrilled to feature this enlightening and knowledgeable article by Richard Stewart, Talent Acquisition Manager at Valiantys, explaining the importance of the subject and how we can all play a part for better understanding and global action.
Why is World Autism Month important?
Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.
Autism is mainly characterized by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.
The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on individuals, their families and communities.
The stigmatization and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policymakers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.
Therefore World Autism Month helps us to gain understanding, and support so many families worldwide.
What does the world of an autistic person look like?
The condition covers a spectrum of issues and for many people on the autism spectrum, the world is a bewildering place.
With oversensitive sensory systems, those on the autism spectrum can battle to process the maelstrom of information flowing into their brains. Often the result is sensory overload, leading to signature behaviours such as tantrums, anxiety and social withdrawal.
Why is World Autism Month important to me?
My first internal recruiter position was leading recruitment for a provider of residential care for adults on the Autism spectrum, where I went to a weekly meeting with Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Nurses, I listened and got involved in staff planning.
Having spent a lot of time in these settings, I learnt to engage with the residents on the spectrum and the support staff who I was responsible for recruiting.
The CEO of the company that I worked for said to me, “Richard, we all have autistic traits, the question is just how significant are they?”
A part of my role was to attend careers fairs to engage the local community about moving into a care position. In order to give some context one of the residents with Asperger’s Syndrome, joined me at these fairs, Adam was very eloquent about how the support team fostered his independence.
My side hustle at the time was to DJ at parties, through which I provided the music for the residents’ Christmas and summer parties. Those who went with their support workers had a great time and were keen interact with me, which I loved. One man was really keen to DJ using my records and equipment – it transpires that his mixing skills were far better than mine!
From meeting all these people, I learnt that the world is not black nor white, there are shades of grey.
Want to learn more?
Here is a video that gives you an introduction to the World of Autism:
Click on these to know more about Autism Spectrum:
If you have a colleague, a client, a family member, or a friend who is on the autism spectrum, we hope this information will help you understand them and develop the best relationship with them.