New Online Pro-D Teaches Strategies to Support Neurodiverse Individuals in the Workplace
Autistic and other neurodiverse people often face barriers when it comes to getting and keeping a job. They may not be the best at social communication during a job interview or they may face discrimination due to their interaction style or what appear to be “odd” behaviours in the workplace.
Yet, many autistic and neurodiverse people have a variety of skills that enable them to thrive in a wide range of careers including retail sales, computer programming, and journalism, to name a few.
To help breakdown these barriers, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism (CIRCA) at the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with CPHR BC & Yukon, has created an exciting new professional development (Pro-D) program, Autism and Neurodiversity in the Workplace. This program is designed to assist human resource professionals, employers, supervisors, managers, and co-workers (among others) to learn practical strategies on how to support neurodiverse employees to be successful on the job. It includes a series of five self-paced, interactive modules that cover everything from understanding autism in the workplace to inclusive employee retention strategies.
This Pro-D program is absolutely free, is completely online and self-paced. It is also pre-approved by the CPHR BC & Yukon for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.
People on the autism spectrum are under-represented in the labour market. However, most autistic individuals want to work, are qualified for work, and can make positive and valuable contributions to the workplace. As many as 85% of autistic individuals are unemployed or underemployed; this is exceptionally high, even when compared to other disability groups.1
There are many advantages to hiring an inclusive and neurodiverse workforce:
It Is Good For The Individual
Employment can lead to improvements in mental and physical health, social interactions, self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of active and meaningful contribution to society.
It Is Good For Co-Workers And All Employees
The human resource supports that are implemented for people with disabilities in the workplace also benefit employees without autism.
It Is Good For Society
It allows people to learn different perspectives, which can minimize discrimination, promote societal acceptance, and unite efforts across sectors.
It Is Good For The Company/Organization
Inclusive organizations are viewed as progressive and innovative and attract a wider range of talent. People want to work for innovative organizations. In fact, millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to consider company policies on diversity, equality, and inclusion during their job hunt.2
It Is Good For Business
Inclusive workplaces have been found to be more innovative and agile, higher-performing, more likely to achieve better business outcomes, and more likely to meet or exceed financial targets.
Learn more and register for the Pro-D program through the Autism & Neurodiversity in the Workplace webpage. Once registered, participants can access the modules at any time and complete the program at their own pace.
Dr. Karen Bopp is the lead author for the CIRCA Professional Development Programs. She has a PhD in Special Education and is also a Speech-Language Pathologist. Karen has worked extensively with autistic individuals and their families for over 25 years. She is serving a 4-year secondment (2018-2022) with CIRCA/UBC from the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development where she served for 10 years in the positions of Senior Behaviour Consultant, Autism Policy Lead and, most recently, Director of Autism Information Services BC
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