Update on Autism Speaks diversity, equity, access and inclusion (DEAI) efforts – FY22 Q 1&2

November 3, 2021

At Autism Speaks, we are working to achieve a world where all people with autism, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, can reach their full potential – inclusive of all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic status, and belief systems.

With this in mind, we want to share an update on our diversity, equity, access and inclusion (DEAI) efforts for the first half (April 2021 – September 2021) of our 2021 – 2022 fiscal year. Recognizing that this important work will take time, we are committed to serving everyone with autism and their families by improving the representation of this diverse community in our content, expanding the reach of our resources and increasing inclusive practices in our workplace.

Please see below for our work underway to date:

  • Expand inclusion within marketing and storytelling 
    • We are conducting a comprehensive audit of our marketing to measure the diversity of our materials.  
    • In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we provided free access to our growing number of Spanish language resources (currently 43 resources have been translated) to further support the Hispanic autism community and shared the stories of two Hispanic women and their passionate support of the autistic community.
    • We have established partnerships with the following organization to support our efforts:
  • Ensure resources are inclusive and accessible to underserved populations
    • We are conducting a comprehensive audit of our resources to measure the diversity of our materials.
    • Through the established partnership with the organizations listed above, we have made progress serving the African American, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Asian communities as well as Medicaid eligible families in the New York Metro area.
    • We have implemented our Caregiver Skills Training (CST) in Detroit, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia and New York to teach caregivers how to use play and everyday routines to help their child share activities, expand their communication, learn new skills and more. 
    • We have hired three new bilingual Autism Response Team members to better serve the Spanish-speaking community with personalized information and resources.  
  • Increase inclusive practices in the workplace
    • We launched our Employee Resource Group (ERG) program to allow employees with common characteristics, such as life experiences or identity, to come together in a safe and open forum and share their experiences.
    • We launched a five-part DEAI training program for employees which started in August and concludes in December.  
    • We have developed the strategy for a more inclusive talent acquisition strategy and are taking the required steps to execute.
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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.