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World Autism Awareness Day | Everything you need to know with Modern Mobility

Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day

As awareness about autism grows on social media, it’s crucial to ensure that there’s a greater understanding of ASD to foster progress and empathy worldwide. World Autism Day serves as an important step in this direction.

autism symbol (Rainbow infinity symbol)

What is world autism Day?

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) aims to highlight the difficulties faced by people with autism and increase understanding globally. Through annual activities, it seeks to raise awareness and support for individuals of all ages living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What is autism?

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental condition impacting communication, social interaction, and behaviour. It’s referred to as a “spectrum” disorder due to the diverse range of symptoms and support levels. People with autism may struggle with social interactions, communication skills, and display repetitive behaviours or narrow interests. Generally emerging in early childhood, autism is a lifelong condition with varying effects on individuals.

Statistics in the UK

  • Around 1.04% of the UK population have been diagnosed with autism.
  • Only 30% of people with autism are in employment, with the majority likely to be overqualified for the job they have, most likely to be on zero-hours contracts, and least likely to be in a permanent role.
  • Males are 3x more likely to be diagnosed than females due to most research being conducted on male individuals.
  • Only around 35% of autistic employees are fully open about being autistic.
  • 20% of Autistics suffer from an anxiety disorder

Why do we need Autism awareness?

Many misconceptions about autism stem from media portrayals, leading people to stereotype the condition. Awareness is crucial to debunk these misconceptions and understand autism’s diverse nature, where each person has unique strengths and challenges.

A few Symptoms of autism

  • Communication issues: Some individuals with ASD may interpret language literally, struggle with sarcasm, or require extra time to process information.
  • Social issues: Difficulty reading emotions may lead to appearing insensitive or distant. Some individuals “mask” their differences by imitating others’ behaviour.
  • Sensory issues: Autistic individuals may experience heightened or diminished sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, temperatures, or pain.
  • Hyperfocus: While intense focus can benefit academically or professionally, individuals may neglect other aspects of life due to fixation on specific topics or activities.

What is it like working with autism?

Autism in the workplace can pose significant challenges due to sensory sensitivities. Bright fluorescent lighting, loud noises, strong smells, and multiple conversations can overwhelm autistic individuals. Interacting with customers or colleagues may also be difficult due to communication issues, sometimes leading to misunderstandings or even bullying. Some may perceive the direct nature of autistic communication as aggressive or insulting. With only 30% of autistic individuals able to maintain employment, raising awareness of ASD in the workplace and implementing reasonable adjustments could greatly improve this statistic.

What reasonable adjustments can be made to assist people with autism?

The definition of ‘reasonable’ varies between companies. What is practical in one may not be in another. You can make personal adjustments, like wearing noise-cancelling headphones for auditory sensitivities.

 

Speaking with your manager about workplace adjustments is key. This could mean sitting further away from noise or kitchens to avoid sensory issues, or adjusting working hours to better suit your needs.

My Story: What is working with autism like for me?

“I have been in some sort of employment since 16, and I am also autistic. Since school, I have always been a little different from my peers. But until a few years ago, when I was officially diagnosed, I genuinely believed that to be treated better, I had to work harder to fit in, change myself and ignore how I felt often at the expense of my wellbeing.”

“I worked in the Retail/Hospitality trade for a few years which always ended in burnout on my days off due to many varying factors, which affected both my mental and physical health. Learning how to deal with these using aids, as well as forms of therapy has been a massive help in coping in the working world. I decided that I needed to find something to fit me better instead of trying to force myself to fit to it.”

“Coming to work here at Modern Mobility has been a big positive change, having the structure of a 9-5 and a supportive work environment has help me exponentially in my confidence.  It’s been a journey, but I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made.”

Girl with creative thoughts coming out of head

Useful resources and aids

“I’ve discovered a variety of aids that have been incredibly helpful in managing my own autistic traits. For instance, when I’m overwhelmed by noise, I find comfort in wearing ear defenders or using earplugs to dial down the volume.”

“During moments of heightened anxiety or when I need to manage stimming, I’ve found solace in fidget rings and the calming support of a weighted blanket. These tools have become essential companions in my journey toward self-care and finding balance amidst the challenges of autism.”

A Woman Comfy with a weighted blanket

Useful resources and aids

If you would like to talk to us at Modern Mobility about any support we could offer, please feel free to Contact Us

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