World Autism “Acceptance” Week
27th March is World Autism Acceptance Week
It used to be called Autism Awareness Week but it is now concentrating on working on inclusion and acceptance of Autistic people into society and every- day life
Awareness and understanding of Autism has improved as a result of accurate dramas and documentaries dealing with the subject on mainstream television and social media.
Also as a result of high profile celebrities and their family members revealing their autism conditions.
I work with autistic people, and their supportive families, who find themselves being investigated or prosecuted for criminal behaviour. Often the behaviour can be explained with reference to their autistic condition and not as a result of criminal intentions.
But there is still much to be done to improve the lives of autistic people.
Only around 21% of autistic people are in work and even less in full-time paid employment.
There are 700,000 autistic people in the U.K.
Many of them are not understood or accepted by society.
There is no right way for the brain to work. It works in different ways in different people.
Autistic people think and communicate differently to others.
Sometimes their behaviour may seem unusual, different or odd to others.
Often their behaviour is their individual way of communicating or coping with their anxiety.
The same routines and exact planning can reduce that anxiety.
Some autistic people are very high functioning with a specialist skill or skills. Think of Elon Musk or the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.
Enlightened employers in the technology, banking and accounting sectors are now putting less emphasis on face to face communication competence when interviewing, and when hiring accommodating flexible remote working to reduce the anxieties of autistic workers who can add great strength to a work force. Different routes to progression at work are being developed which do not automatically have to include a position which involves the management of other people.
But not all autistic people are high functioning and high achieving. The Autism Spectrum is varied.
Every autistic person is different.
Sometimes the frustrations and obsessional behaviour, and the other different traits that manifest from Autism can lead to associated depression and even a related mental health condition.
So during this week let us all concentrate on acceptance, inclusion, support and the celebration of neuro-diversity and the neuro-diverse community.
The world would be a very dull place indeed if everyone thought, communicated and behaved in exactly the same way.
Graeme Hydari, Solicitor specialising in representing Autistic individuals in criminal investigations and proceedings.