31 Mar 2023

GEDI committee statement on World Autism Awareness Day

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a developmental condition that affects people throughout their lives and can be characterised by difficulties in social interaction, communication, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours, and sensory sensitivities. It is estimated that 1 in 70 people and 1 in 100 children are on the autism spectrum (WHO ‘Key facts about Autism’). World Autism Awareness Day is a day of observance that has been sanctioned by the UN “to highlight the need to improve the quality of life of those with autism, so that they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.”

Within the Central Clinical School, the GEDI committee acknowledges that people living with Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are all unique. Some people with Autism may not require any additional support, but for others who do need support, their needs are not identical. We also recognise that many in the school provide care or support to people (including children) with Autism, and appreciate that there are additional appointments or tasks that you attend to in order to provide that care or support.

One thing we can all do within CCS to promote inclusion for people with ASD is be open to alternative approaches to work schedules, presentations, meetings or processes that allow flexibility or improve access. Due to stigma and discrimination, some people with ASD may not want to disclose their diagnosis or even be aware of their condition due to barriers in obtaining a diagnosis. We can all be mindful to promote inclusivity, and recognise that any requests for change at work may improve a staff member’s access and wellbeing.

Finally, if you have any other suggestions or feedback on how the GEDI committee can help the CCS improve accessibility for people with a disability or neurodiversity please contact us: ccs.gedi@monash.edu

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