Autism is known as a spectrum disorder. Because each person with autism is different and has unique strengths and challenges.
Varney says many people with autism have experienced education as a system focused on these challenges, which can include social difficulties and anxiety.
He is pleased that this is changing with recent reforms that incorporate the strengths of students with autism.
However, the unemployment rate for people with autism remains alarmingly high. ABS data Since 2018, 34.1% of people with autism are unemployed. That’s three times more than her for people with all kinds of disabilities and almost eight times more for people without disabilities.
“Often, we hear someone has autism and assume they’re incompetent,” says Barney, who was appointed chairman of the Victorian Disability Advisory Board this week.
“But we have our own strengths, especially hyperfocus, great creativity, and the ability to think outside the box.
In Israel, the defense forces specialized intelligence unit It is made up entirely of autistic soldiers whose skills are put to use in analyzing, interpreting and understanding satellite imagery and maps.
Locally, organizations actively recruiting autistic talent include software giants SAP, Westpac, IBM, ANZ, Australian Taxation, Telstra, NAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Chris Pedron is a Junior Data Analyst at: Spatial Analysis of Australiaon its website, “Neurodiversity is our advantage. Our team is faster and more accurate in processing data”.
He was hired after an informal chat. (In Australian Spatial Analytics, he often provides interview questions 48 hours in advance.)
Pedron says the traditional recruitment process can disadvantage someone with autism because there are a lot of unwritten social cues he doesn’t always understand, such as body language. increase.
“If I walk in and I’m acting a little physically aloof or crossing my arms, it’s not that I don’t want to be there. It’s just that new social interactions are anxiety-inducing. ”
Pedron is also uncomfortable with eye contact and has had to train himself over the years to focus on a single point on someone’s face.
Australian Spatial Analytics addresses the skills shortage by providing a range of data services traditionally outsourced offshore.
Projects include digital farm maps for the grazing industry, technical documentation for large-scale infrastructure, and mapping for land management.
Pedron always found it easier to plan things in his head. “A lot of the work done here at ASA is about geospatial, so having someone with autism who has a very visual mindset is very advantageous for this particular job. ”
Pedron listens to music on headphones in his office to help him focus and avoid distractions. He says the simpler and clearer the instructions, the easier it is to understand. “The less you have to read between the lines to understand what is expected of you, the better.”
Australian Spatial Analytics is one of three work-focused social enterprises launched by Queensland charity White Box Enterprises.
The workforce has grown from 3 to 80 in 18 months, expanded to Melbourne this year thanks to philanthropist Naomi Milgrom providing office space in Cremorn, and Australian Spatial Analytics will have 50 in Victoria by the end of the year. You can now create roles for .
CEO Jeff Smith hopes to lead a wave of employers recognizing that hiring people with autism makes good business sense.
“Don’t look at people’s flaws, look at their strengths. One-quarter of the National Disability Insurance Scheme cite autism as the main disability, so society has no choice. No. There will be a huge number of young people with autism who are looking for work.We need to look at neurodiverse talent because of the current skills shortage.”
In 2017, IBM launched a campaign to recruit more neurodiverse (a term used to describe various conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia) candidates.
of The initiative was partially inspired by It’s by software and data quality engineering services company Ultranauts, and he boasted at the event that he “ate IBM’s lunch in testing with autistic staff.”
The following year, Belinda Sheehan, senior managing consultant at IBM, was tasked with deploying a pilot at the company’s Client Innovation Center in Ballarat.
“IBM is very committed to inclusivity,” says Sheehan. “Without diversity of thought, there is no innovation. So these two things go hand in hand,” he said.
8 things workplaces can do for employees with autism
- Recruit in another way.Send applicants pre-interview questions or use trial versions and hands-on assessments
- offer flexible hours
- Provides noise-cancelling headphones and a quiet space
- Provide clear and direct instructions and feedback
- There is a mentor and buddy system
- Don’t make assumptions about people with autism
- Provide autism training for administrators
- Partner with an Autism Employment Expert
Sheehan worked with Specialist Australiaa social enterprise that helps companies recruit and support people with autism, finds talent using a non-traditional recruitment process that includes week-long tasks.
Candidates were asked to work with record shops to find ways to connect with customers when physical stores are closed due to COVID.
In the end, 10 employees were selected. They joined him in July 2019 and have held roles across IBM including data analytics, testing, user experience design, data engineering, automation, blockchain and software development. In July 2021, he will have eight more employees.
Sheehan says the client is happy with their idea. “UX [user experience] For example, designers bring such different lenses. Especially as we move into artificial intelligence, we need different thinkers. ”
One client said that if he had to use two words to describe his most valuable contribution to a project, it would be ‘insane speed’. Another called it an “automation genius.”
IBM has tried to make the office more inclusive by creating spaces that feel less calm.
We formed a business resource group for neurodiverse employees and their advocates, forming four teams focused on recruitment, awareness, career progression, and policies and procedures.
We also hired neurodiversity coaches to work with individuals and managers.
Problems included disgruntled employees because there wasn’t enough work, Sheehan said.
“These individuals want to come to work and get the job done. They don’t go out for coffee or chat.”
Increased productivity is a good thing, says Sheehan, but as a manager, you need to figure out ways to improve your skills in your downtime.
There are also issues with different communication styles, and the staff finds some autistic employees a bit blunt.
Sheehan encourages all staff to take the Neurodiversity 101 training course run by IBM.
“Something may come across as rude, but you have to turn it into a positive. I know.”
Chris Varney is happy to see neurodiversity programs in some industries, but points out that people with autism have different interests and abilities.
For example, some people are non-verbal and not all have the typical autistic skills of being good at data analysis.
“It is widely recognized that people with autism are assets of banks and tech companies, but there is still much work to be done,” says Varney.
“We need to see work for people with diverse autism.”
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Why autism is preferred by employers
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