Is someone walking in your business door who is on the autism spectrum? The newest figures have one in 45 diagnosed with some form of autism. Including these folks in your business plans and accommodations not only opens you to new populations, but also shows a welcoming sign to their friends and family.
Autism McLean and Marcfirst recently launched an initiative to build an Autism Friendly Community. This effort details activities and awareness businesses can use to reach this population. People on the autism spectrum often have very high analytical skills and are often excellent at intellectually engaging but repetitive tasks. Is there a workplace need they might fulfill? Some individuals on the spectrum are socially awkward – how does your business make them feel comfortable as a customer?
At the initiative’s website, www.autismfriendly.community, you can find a survey to test your own organization’s autism awareness. There are also multiple links there to local social services and other agencies that can assist you.
Over the past decade, doctors are diagnosing more and more people on the autism spectrum. The businesses that plan ahead to accommodate this population will gain loyalty from impacted families and friends. Having an explicit community program can also help in relocation decisions for affected families. Visit autismfriendly.community to learn more. Door stickers will soon be available that would label your enterprise as "Autism Friendly."