Have you included Autism Accessibility in your Diversity and Inclusion Policy?

In recent years Autism and other related disorders were recharacterised and an umbrella term created called "Autism Spectrum Disorders". One of the major changes brought about as a result of this recharacterisation was the elimination of Aspergers Syndrome. Aspergers now falls under the Autism Spectrum Disorder remit; thus, it is even more important to emphasis the individuality of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological disorder that impacts people in relation to their social, communication and behavioural skills. In order to receive a diagnosis of ASD, a person must experience impairments in all areas to such an extent that it impacts on their daily life. The rates of diagnosis is on the increase annually with some figures now quoting that 1 in 36 people are now receiving a diagnosis of ASD. However, with such significant figures coming to the fore why is it so important to raise awareness?

For many of us either working with or living with people with ASD the task of creating awareness seems like a never ending battle. However, it is a task that will, in the long haul, change society as we experience it today.

It can be frustrating for many people who face daily battles and continue to advocate for the position of people with ASD within society. It can seem like a task that should not be required of us, especially when we spend 24 hours 7 days a week supporting people with ASD. As I previously stated, ASD is a very individualised disorder. People experience the impairments in varying levels of frequency and intensity. Therefore, it is easy to be blindsided by the "feel good" stories that we hear; particularly during this month of awareness. A reality for others is very different with daily struggles to meet the most basic care needs for their loved ones. With this in mind, sometimes we get frustrated with the world and begin to think that people with ASD should be included within society as a whole, no questions asked, and they should; however, this is far from the reality experienced by people with ASD, their families and friends.

People with ASD continue to be ostricised within our society and their purpose questioned. This can be exceptionally frustrating for those of us who know the potential of people with ASD. However, no matter how frustrating this tasks gets it is important for us to continue to strive towards an inclusive society. By continuing our journey to raising awareness we will eventually being to reduce and eliminate the barriers to accessibility for people with ASD within our society.

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Miriam O'Sullivan

CoFounder of myAccessHub

Miriam developed the Programme & Standards for myAccessHub. She has recently completed her Masters in Autism and Technology. Miriam has over 10 years experience working with Adults and Children with Autism

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