The BBC is launching ‘Employ Me’ which will enable people with neurological conditions to find employment – from autism and Tourette’s to ADHD and Down’s Syndrome.
Much like the Microsoft initiative it will be targeting “qualified and/or capable” individuals.
People on the ‘neurodiversity’ spectrum may be able to offer a greater contribution to the workplace than those without a condition, the programme will argue.
People on the spectrum, currently only have a 15% chance of being employed, according to the BBC. Can you imagine all the qualifications,, transferable skills and uniqueness going to waste? Of course, hiring someone with a diagnosis will require more paperwork and appropriate mechanisms in place but is that a good enough excuse? Microsoft and the BBC are saying no it is not good enough with their programmes.
Prof Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, who is also an advisor on the BBC Two programme has said “The concept of ‘neurodiversity’ reminds us that there isn’t a single way to be ‘normal’”. There is no such thing as normal. Particularly in the case of Aspergers, employers can find a lot of good qualities to work with, they just have to be willing to. Why deny 1-68 people, if they are able, in the UK the chance to be employed and contribute to society?
With the correct support, which is readily available, a person on the spectrum can develop a sense of responsibility, self-worth, make friends and prevent isolation with the stigma of Autism. Also, and most importantly, these programmes will introduce highly functioning people on the spectrum to all other employees. Then, those employees will go home, will go to their friends and tell them about Autism, teach them, slowly erase the stigma that Autism means incapabilities rather than capabilities. They will know that Autism has a face, a million smiles, humour and emotion. The awareness will spread throughout that community and their kids, so that when another kid at school is different they won’t exclude them, they will understand them.
These initiatives are so much more than just jobs, they change lives. They contribute to future generations so that one day it will be ‘the norm’ to hire people on the spectrum; so that one day it won’t be worth writing about.
Read more about it here.