The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

03 April 2015

Employment: The Autism Advantage

April 2 was unanimously declared by the United Nations General Assembly as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of children and adults, who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives.

It is estimated that more than 80% of adults with autism are unemployed -- this is the crux of why this year's theme is "Employment: The Autism Advantage". Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilities that that people on the autism spectrum have in greater abundance than “neurotypical” workers do – such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as a greater attention to detail.

The Philippines shares the many hurdles that global community needs to overcome to unleash this potential. We need to work on the shortage of vocational training, the inadequate support with job placement, and the pervasive discrimination.

The UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon shared his thoughts:

"We are here to call for greater access and work opportunities for persons with autism. While there has been a good deal of progress, much more needs to be done.

I am hugely encouraged by the growing public awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the improvement in public services to many of those affected. World Autism Awareness Day not only fosters greater understanding, it empowers parents into seeking early intervention therapies and calls for the full integration of persons with autism into society. It also invites policy-makers to encourage schools to open their doors to students with autism. With adequate support, they can -- and should -- be educated in the heart of their communities.

This year, my wife [Yoo Soon-taek] and I are delighted to launch an employment “Call to Action”, inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employ people on the autism spectrum. We encourage public offices, corporations, and small businesses to have a closer look at the way they perceive people with autism, to take the time to learn about the condition and to create life-changing opportunities.

People with autism have enormous potential. Most have remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills. Thanks to the use of assistive technologies, non-verbal persons with autism can communicate and share their un-tapped capabilities. Recognizing the talents of persons on the autism spectrum, rather than focusing on their weaknesses, is essential to creating a society that is truly inclusive.

Yet even where awareness is high, more than 80 per cent of adults with autism are unemployed. That is why it is so important for companies to understand their unique and often exceptional skills, and to enable work environments where they can excel.

This requires appropriate vocational training and adequate support alongside a recruitment process that can allow people to successfully integrate into workforces around the world."

Read the full speech here.

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