April is Autism Awareness Month, recognized by events and publications both in the US and globally. In the US, the Autism Society dedicated April as National Autism Awareness Month in 1970. Over the years, this official designation has reminded us to promote autism awareness and inclusion. Individuals with autism deserve every opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life for themselves and their families.

The Autism Society offers the following about Autism:

“Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause. People with autism are classed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the terms autism and ASD are often used interchangeably. A wide spectrum disorder, people with autism have set of symptoms unique to themselves; no two people are the same.”

The Autism Society’s campaign is not only to educate the public and assist families and individuals living with autism, but also to ignite a sense of urgency about the 7 in 10 adults with autism who are either unemployed or underemployed. Their aim is to inspire individuals, families, communities and employers to be more inclusive.

Certainly the Mayor’s Committee joins them in aiming to inspire employers and bring society one step closer to valuing those with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the workplace for their unique talents and gifts, utilizing those talents and gifts to the benefit of the individual and the business.

We have seen again and again the positive effect inclusion in the workplace has on individuals with disabilities. At our recent luncheon to recognize local businesses for their inclusive hiring practices, speakers discussed a benefit that is beginning to be recognized and shown in studies, that hiring individuals with disabilities has a positive effect on profitability.

We are here to help. Along with education, the Mayor’s Committee seeks to empower employers by introducing them to community organizations that can assist both the employers and the employees in making the job connection. From this have come many highly successful and rewarding workplace experiences.

We encourage businesses to contact the Mayor’s Committee at (661) 294-2560.