We support employment initiatives that prepare, recruit, onboard, retain and advance individuals with autism, recognizing that everyone with autism has different strengths and aspirations.
We work to ensure that all individuals with autism who seek employment can secure and retain it with appropriate, individualized supports.
We take a holistic view of employment with a focus on sustainability.
We believe the career path of an individual with autism should closely resemble that of any other person, so we advocate for government- and employer-level support for initiatives that include all the components of employment: preparation, recruiting, onboarding, retention and advancement.
We support a systemic view of employment with a focus on community.
We believe that to improve the status quo of employment for people with autism and other disabilities, many stakeholders need to adapt their daily practices.These groups include not just individuals and employers, but also families, schools and a web of interconnected community systems. We advocate across groups to improve employment outcomes.
We recognize the heterogeneity of autisms and promote disaggregated results.
The autism spectrum is extremely broad, encompassing innumerable combinations of different personality traits, including a vast array of both strengths and needs. Every person with autism is distinct from every other person with autism. As many employment initiatives are geared for people with disabilities generally rather than people with autism specifically, we promote accountability measures for programs that recognize disability type rather than those that aggregate all disabilities into a single category.
We understand that employment offers benefits beyond income.
Employment has impacts on quality of life beyond the dollar-value of a wage - health, well being, community connection, sense of purpose and personal identity are all affected by working. This phenomenon is as true for people with autism as it is for those without. At the same time, just as in the non-disabled population, each individual with autism has unique priorities, some valuing their wage above the other considerations, some the opposite. Autism Speaks strives to improve access, promote equity and support self-determination. The whole community benefits when each individual fulfills personal goals for independence and self-reliance.
We believe in raising expectations.
One of the primary barriers to creating widespread access to employment for individuals with autism and other disabilities is the “tyranny of low expectations.” In the real world, everyone has limitations - disability or not. What's important to remember is that those limitations - and the ability to overcome them - must come from the individual, supported by the community. Autism Speaks supports access to individualized optimal post-secondary outcomes - including competitive integrated employment for all who seek it. We work to build sustainable connections between government, individuals, families, employers and communities to empower people with autism and other disabilities so that everyone on the spectrum can achieve their goals and reach their potential.