World Autism Awareness Day 2020: The Transition to Adulthood

2nd April 2020 |

This year sees the twelfth United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day.  Since 2008, it has fallen on the second day of April, celebrating and recognising the rights of persons with autism spectrum conditions.  With the COVID-19 outbreak a grave concern, the need for support and equal rights is greater than ever.

As each World Autism Awareness Day has had a specific theme, this year’s theme is The Transition to Adulthood.  The emphasis on this theme is on improving life chances for people with autism spectrum conditions as they move from school age to adulthood.  

In the labour market, people with autism spectrum conditions are underrepresented.  As stated in the National Autistic Society’s 2016 report, The Autism Employment Gap: Too Much Information in the Workplace, only 16% of adults with an autism spectrum condition have a full time job.  With any form of paid employment, the figure is 32%.

People with autism spectrum conditions have an ability to see things differently.  Whether in the workplace or academic environment, they can be a major asset.  This is reflected in the works of Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and Michaelangelo, who have been suspected to be on the spectrum.  Towards the present day, this can be seen with Bill Gates, Greta Thunberg and the late Steve Jobs.

Over the last 50 years, our knowledge of autism spectrum conditions has improved dramatically.  We have moved away from seeing autism as a homogenous condition, towards being a spectrum of conditions.  We also know that no two people on the autism spectrum are ever the same.  This is expressed in CBeebies’ TV series Pablo, where each of the programme’s characters have different traits.  What’s more, its episodes are voiced, written and co-written by people with autism spectrum conditions.

Some of the people we support at Future Directions are making their transition from adolescence to adulthood.  By putting people first, this includes helping them to get a place of their own.  Also in securing work experience.  As we go the extra mile, we recognise that no two person’s needs are exactly the same.

With autism spectrum conditions, we have recognised this by having an Autism Lead and a PBS Lead (Positive Behaviour Support).  Our person-centred approach allows the people we support to have a most fulfilling life.

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