When individuals on the Autism spectrum reach adulthood, their employment options are unfortunately limited. Unemployment rates among those with Autism have been reported to be as high as 90%. With 1 in 59 children diagnosed with Autism, the population is growing.

Changing our organization for the better

As businesses, it is our social responsibility to incorporate this growing population, and these individuals offer many diverse talents that can benefit our organizations. Adelphi embraces inclusivity and we actively integrate individuals with Autism into our company. The results? These employees have become invaluable members of our team, and they have changed our organization for the better. We hired our first individual with autism seven years ago, and he remains one of our most committed and best employees. While we started at Adelphi Research, our parent company, Omnicom Health Group, has expanded this initiative across our network.

Celebrating our strengths and our differences

Adelphi’s employees with Autism, AJ and Alex, play integral roles as office assistants in several departments and have responsibility for key office functions. They have autonomy and take ownership of their roles. AJ and Alex are proud of the work they do and feel fulfilled because they have jobs they enjoy. Many of our other employees have never had first-hand experience with individuals who have special needs, and so as a group we have learned how to be patient, deliberate, and logical when asking for their assistance. These interactions provide a greater benefit to everyone: they create conscious and mindful interactions among our team and shape our interactions with individuals outside our organization. Working with AJ and Alex also gives us opportunities to appreciate and celebrate our strengths and our differences.

Living our values

The impact our employees with Autism has on Adelphi extends well beyond competence in their individual tasks. AJ and Alex are truly valued members of our team who effortlessly embody many of Adelphi’s core values. As ambassadors of Adelphi, they demonstrate natural curiosity and leave positive impressions on those they encounter, resulting in a company culture that fosters involvement, inclusion and giving back.

Integrating individuals with Autism into your workplace

This is not to say the process is seamless; to make this effort successful, a company must be fully invested in its success. Through this model, Adelphi has proven that individuals with Autism can successfully integrate into a business environment and make meaningful contributions. April is Autism Awareness Month, so Adelphi would like to challenge you to think about how individuals with Autism can play a role in your organization.