Autism Acceptance: Hiring and Supporting a Neurodiverse Workforce

Autism Acceptance Month takes place in April to spread knowledge about autism spectrum disorders and to celebrate the unique experiences and abilities of people with autism. Autism is defined as a developmental disorder that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication as well as restrictive or repetitive patterns in thought and behavior but can manifest differently among individuals.

Facts About Autism

Increased awareness about this neurological difference has helped dispel myths about autism and break down the stigma surrounding it. An estimated 2.21% of adults in the U.S. live with Autism Spectrum Disorders. There have been many studies regarding the IQ and cognitive ability of autistic people. However, there has been no definitive proof that autism is always associated with either cognitive impairment or even higher intelligence. More than half of individuals with autism are estimated to have average or above-average IQs.

The 2015 National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood found that 36% of autistic people pursue post-secondary education. Thirty percent of young adults with autism studying at a 2-year college and 50% that attended a 4-year college majored in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields — areas of expertise that are in high demand in the working world. Yet, as of 2019, an alarming 85% of college graduates with autism were unemployed.

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