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Finding right jobs still remains a struggle for adults with autism

Dell Technologies was recently in the news for introducing an exclusive hiring programme for adults with autism in the United States, an initiative that was widely hailed. In India, however, we still have miles to go when it comes to providing employment opportunities to adults with autism. April being Autism Awareness Month, disability rights groups are highlighting the need for greater inclusion of adults with autism in the employment space.

The widespread misconception that people with autism cannot excel in education or employment is what stops them from being hired, when what they need is a platform to explore to grow into becoming successful participating members at the workplace. Many NGOs are collaborating with MNCs and private companies to spread awareness about this aspect but its a struggle as Anuradha Krishnamoorthy, Founder, Krea eKnowledge Pvt Ltd. and Can DO, a CSR initiative points out. Her company provides training and employment for people with disabilities.

Most of us empathize with a wheelchair user or a visually impaired person. But when it comes to seeing someone with autism, they are unaware of what the condition is all about. People with autism have certain strengths that need to be worked upon. Parents have to look into this. There is a lot of untapped potential in them. They are extremely good at data entry, desk research and so on. At our institute, we have trained people with autism who are doing really well at their work place now. All that you need to do when you hire a person with autism is not to over complicate things and make it easy for them. We need them also to contribute towards development of our nation. - Anuradha Krishnamoorthy, Founder, Can Do

The scenario is changing for the better with more private companies showing interest to hire people with autism, thanks to the RPWD Act, 2016. Adding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in their list has opened doors of opportunities for many people.

Restaurants, bakeries and shops across south and north India are showing greater willingness and acceptance when it comes to hiring adults with autism.

Prathibha Bhatnagar's 27-year-old son Akshay, who is on the spectrum, works with a company in Jaipur. She believes that given support, people with autism can be successful at the workplace.

"The first thing that parents must do is to accept their child with their disability. Otherwise, it is impossible to go ahead. In due course of time, they will showcase their talents and skills. Identify that and work on it so that they can be successful in what they love doing best. This might take months or even years. Be patient and consistent", she advises.

What is crucial to creating greater acceptance is more initiative from the government, believes, Biju Issac, Secretary, Ernakulam Autism Club.

"People with autism can do things on their own. There are many who run their own business. But lack of acceptance from society is the biggest problem that ruins their development. Over the years, we have had many people with autism who have proved then skills. The government must step in to introduce training centres and facilities where these adults with autism can undergo skill training".

Many companies like Dell are showing the way when it comes to greater inclusion at the workplace for people with intellectual disorders. Their approach and example is out there for others to take a cue from.

ALSO READ: Interacting with an adult who has autism can be easy and fun. Here is how.

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