Digital inclusion can help people with Autism do better in workplaces, says experts
People with autism spectrum disorder are not given enough opportunities to have regular and paid jobs due to their developmental condition. However, they are often more focused and have a better long-term memory than most normal people.
In a webinar titled 'Employment of persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: How can Digital Inclusion help us better support them in the workplace' on the second day of the World Congress on Information Technology 2021 (WCIT 2021), Nazish Arman, Lead Coordinator for Content Development at Shuchona Foundation, pointed out why one should employ someone with autism and what are the different skills that they possess make them valuable employees.
She said, "It's difficult to maintain concentration on one particular task for a lot of us. But for persons with autism, this is often something that they excel in which can be very valuable for an employer."
"Some accommodations need to be made to ensure that the performance of autistic employees does not deteriorate. For example, provide advance notice of topics so that they can understand easily, and let them know beforehand if they need to speak or present something in the general meeting," she added.
To reduce auditory distractions, provide them noise-cancelling headsets and let them work from a space away from noisy objects in the office such as printers, copy machines, speakers or alarms. And help them avoid visual distractions by reducing clutter in the work environment and by installing space closures", said Nazish.
On the question of autistic people's workability, Sajida Rahman Danny, Chairman & Founder President, Parents Forum for Differently Abled (PFDA), shared that one in every five persons with autism or about 39% of them are able to work but are not employed in our country.
Research has found that an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) person has information processing advantages and is better able to detect critical information which makes them finer performers than average workers, especially in the IT work area. For productivity and quality, professionals with autism make fewer mistakes. Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) employees often bring a hyper-focus on complex and repetitive tasks which they can sustain over a very long period of time.
Dr Liliana Mayo, Executive Director and Founder, Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP), has been working with people with disabilities for more than 42 years. From CASP, they started forming employment 25 years ago, and now more than 100 CASP workers are employed in many companies in her country, Peru.
She said, "Through proper training and attention, they are able to work in real jobs. These workers have scheduled working hours, and get real salaries. They do not just work for charity. And they also receive all the benefits as any other regular workers. Even some workers receive annual profit-sharing from a company that I have never received in my life, like $7.00 a year. We teach them to be more responsible by encouraging them to assist their family to pay bills, pay for their siblings' studies with their salaries."
She added that we needed to treat them well at first, and then train and provide them with the necessary opportunities that they deserve.