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Autism in the Workplace (March 2023): Online Job-Related Autism Organizations

By Gundars Kaupins

Online Job-Related Autism Organizations

Hundreds of great websites provide advice to employers and employees on the spectrum about how to improve their lives. Most of the sites involve child development. The resources shown below are this author’s picks for the best organizations that provide support for adults on the autism spectrum. Links to their websites are provided at the end of the works cited.

Autism@Work helps individuals with autism find meaningful work, to educate organizations about effective hiring practices, and to raise general public awareness of the benefits of hiring those on the spectrum. The organization is known for networking between executives, researchers, and educators. Its annual conferences bring those individuals together

The Autism Society provides resources for employers, employees, counselors, and others about education, support, advocacy, and community programs. The website features employment toolkits, statistics on the employment of those on the spectrum, and links to resources such as the Autism@Work Playbook, which guides employers in recruiting individuals with autism. The Disability Equality Index has benchmarking information, allowing companies to see how inclusive they are in hiring people with disabilities. Most noteworthy about the organization is its extensive discussion of public policy efforts to protect individuals on the spectrum and their supporters, such as counselors and educators. It has doctoral fellowships, a summit on autism and aging, and a network of affiliates.

Other online organizations offer more general resources for people on the spectrum and allies. Autism Speaks provides information and advocacy for autistic people. One of most significant features is a list of about 400 international autism organizations, from Albania to Zambia. It provides an autism screening questionnaire; grants for researchers, service providers, individuals, and families; and research programs. The Asperger-Autism Network also supports a wide variety of people on the spectrum. Like the Autism Society, this network provides education, support, advocacy, information, and community programs. As a network, it has a directory of Asperger/autism diagnosticians to test whether an individual is on the spectrum. It shows some research studies and divides its resources among adults/teens, family/friends, and professionals. Similarly, the National Autistic Society, which is based in the United Kingdom, provides advice, information, support, and guidance for adults and children on the spectrum. It encourages businesses and the government to give reasonable accommodations to individuals with autism and improve services and laws. The guidance covers work-related topics, such as benefits, money, mental health, education, and much more. Conferences and training programs are available.

With a focus on public policy, the Autism National Committee (AUTCOM) supports "social justice for all autistics." As a policy organization, it provides position papers, books, and newsletters. The national conference covers issues such as employment, exercise for adults on the spectrum, transgender identity, and autism-related PTSD. AUTCOM’s website provides access to educational position pages, other links related to autism, and articles on issues of interest to individuals, families, and professionals who support those on the autism spectrum.

Research organizations offer many cutting-edge educational resources and insights. The Autism Research Institute supports “the health and well-being of people affected by autism through innovative, impactful research and education.” Along with scientific research grants, it has educational information about the symptoms and interventions associated with autism and diagnostic checklists. It also offers online educational events, a quarterly science newsletter, and think tanks to discuss promising treatments. There are plenty of webinars, autism news items, and editorials.

The Organization for Autism Research “strives to use science to address the social, educational, and treatment concerns of self-advocates, autism professionals, and caregivers.” Through its website it provides an employer portal to support those who are interested in employing people on the spectrum. It is the only autism organization to focus on applied autism research funding. For instance, it gives direct support for college students on the spectrum, teachers teaching about autism, and researchers. Adults can find employment support to help them apply for jobs such as providing résumé guidelines. Among its charity events is a 5K “Run for Autism.”

The Autism Science Foundation supports autism research and provides educational resources for all interested parties, including companies and people on the spectrum. It also gives information about autism symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, and the relationship between vaccines and autism. The website has a good section on individuals entering adulthood.