• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

People with autism make ideal employees!

People with autism make ideal employees!

Most companies shy away from recruiting people with additional needs, such as autism, based on the misconception that individuals with autism may not be able to perform the roles required of them. This could not be further from the truth.

The reality is that with the right management of staff, minor adjustments, and a proper company culture, hiring a person with autism might be one of the best recruitment decisions a business could make.

Read also: Autism is not a death sentence!

Autism is becoming more prevalent on a daily basis. Indeed, the World Health Organisation conservatively estimates that 1 out of every 100 children in the world today has autism. Harnessing the skills of people with autism is a significant opportunity in the employment environment.

It is therefore imperative for organisations to take the time to understand what autism is and the benefits of employing people with autism.

So, what is autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be defined as “a neurodevelopmental condition of variable severity with lifelong effects that can be recognised from early childhood, chiefly characterised by difficulties with social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour.”

Simply put, it is a condition related to the development of the brain that affects the individual’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It is often accompanied by repetitive and overly focused behaviour.

It is important to note that autism is a spectrum, i.e., it is so wide by definition that everyone on the spectrum is different.

Some common symptoms of autism include (but are not limited to):

Speech difficulties: delays, repeating sentences, etc.

Repetitive behaviour—lining up objects, etc.

Stimming (repetitive body movements such as flapping hands, rocking the body, etc.).

Very little social interaction or awareness.

Little or no eye contact.

Sensitivity to sound, lights, etc.

These are just some of the many symptoms of autism. It is always best to consult a medical professional for an actual diagnosis.

Autism is not restricted to children, as adults are being diagnosed daily. Autism is not contagious or communicable to others, and at present, there is no known cause or cure for autism.

There are lots of interventions, therapies, and resources to help people living with autism thrive.

With the right interventions, a person with autism can contribute positively and productively to society. Adults with autism have thriving careers in a myriad of sectors: academia, art, music, law, engineering, private and public administration, etc. In fact, Elon Musk, one of the richest and most successful businessmen in the world, has shared that he is on the autism spectrum.

So, what are the advantages of hiring people with autism?

A lot of people with autism display high levels of focus. They tend to remain committed to the task at hand until it is completed.

They pay attention to the smallest details, therefore avoiding costly errors.

Because their brains work in a different way, they might approach problems from a different perspective, providing solutions that might not easily be apparent at first.

Individuals with autism are generally very loyal to people and spaces that make them feel welcome. In an era where staff turnover is generally high, this is a very attractive scenario.

Read also: Families offered free consulting on autism disorder

People with autism tend to thrive on routine. This makes them very reliable and productive.

Hiring individuals with autism (and other additional needs) would be a boost to the company’s image and brand identity.

It would also ensure compliance with Nigeria’s Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act 2018, which prohibits discrimination of any kind against persons with disabilities.

It would be prudent to harness the extraordinary potential available to businesses from this very often overlooked sector of the labour force.

The government can also assist by providing internship opportunities for people with additional needs to encourage the private sector.

In conclusion, there are significant benefits to employing people with autism. Discerning organisations would do well to look towards this opportunity to stay ahead of the curve.

 

Mudi Nwachukwu is a lawyer and CEO of Rhimamory Resources, the leading inclusive online store in Nigeria and West Africa which provides educational toys and essential therapy materials for children and adults with additional needs. www.rhimamory.com