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April Is Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month in the United States. This year, PEAK6 and the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) council are looking at how we can #celebratedifferences within our offices. 

Acceptance Versus Awareness 

You might notice that the name of this national month changed in 2022 from an awareness month to an acceptance month. That subtle change has a big meaning. “Awareness is knowing that somebody has autism,” Christopher Banks, president and CEO of The Autism Society of America, said. “Acceptance is when you include (a person with autism) in your activities. Help (them) to develop in that community and get that sense of connection to other people.”

What Does Acceptance Look Like at PEAK6?
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We’re fully on board for acceptance throughout the neurodiverse space among our teams. Neurodiversity is a term that refers to the natural variation of human brains and minds. People with neurodivergent conditions, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and Tourette’s syndrome, have unique perspectives and strengths that can contribute to the workplace. Recognizing and accepting neurodiversity is important because it promotes inclusivity, diversity, and equity. 

According to the Autism Society, up to 85% of autistic adults with a college education are unemployed, and over 70% of adults with autism are underemployed or unemployed. Autistic and neurodiverse individuals bring significant skills that can be harnessed when supported through inclusion and accommodations. 

First of all, it’s important for us to know that people with neurodivergent conditions have their own strengths, perspectives, and skills that can help their work teams. For instance, people with autism may possess strong attention to detail and an exceptional memory; while individuals with ADHD may have excellent multitasking skills and creativity. By valuing and leveraging these strengths, we can improve our productivity, innovation, and overall success. 

Culture of Encouragement

Lastly, for neurodiversity to be accepted at PEAK6, there needs to be an open, supportive culture that encourages empathy and understanding. By creating a culture of acceptance, individuals with neurodivergent conditions can feel valued and empowered to contribute. 

In the end, recognizing and accepting neurodiversity at work is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for PEAK6. We can make a workplace that is more innovative, productive, and successful if we value diversity and work to make it happen. So, let’s embrace neurodiversity and celebrate the unique strengths and perspectives of all individuals!

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Here are a few ways to embrace neurodiversity and create a more inclusive workplace:

Provide accommodations: People with neurodivergent conditions may require accommodations to perform at their best. Providing accommodations such as noise-canceling headphones, flexible schedules, or assistive technology can make a big difference in productivity and well-being.

Encourage open communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their needs and concerns. This can help to prevent misunderstandings and foster a culture of inclusivity.

Celebrate differences: Neurodivergent employees may have unique perspectives and skills that can benefit the team. Encourage employees to share their experiences and ideas, and celebrate their contributions.

Provide training: Educate employees on neurodiversity and the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals. This can help create a more empathetic and understanding workplace.

Embrace creativity: neurodivergent individuals often have a unique way of thinking and problem-solving. Encouraging creativity and divergent thinking can lead to innovative solutions and a more dynamic workplace.

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