iSchool’s Hala Annabi creates ‘Autism @ Work Playbook’ by Peter Kelley

“Nothing about us without us” is a phrase often used to express the need for people to have a say in designing policies that affect their own lives.

It’s also a key tenet in the Autism @ Work Playbook, a resource created by the University of Washington Information School together with several corporate partners. The 61-page document guides organizations and human resources professionals in creating and sustaining appropriate and well-supported employment opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.

The playbook offers step-by-step guidance for organizations interested in creating their own inclusive workplace programs, from designing a pilot program that fits the workplace to recruitment, hiring, training and support, as well as how to assist employees with career development and advancement.

“We created this playbook as a way to distill best practices of years of experience and tremendous passion. It is designed to empower organizations of all sizes across all sectors to join the fight to eradicate unemployment for the autism community,” said Hala Annabi, an iSchool associate professor and principal investigator of the Autism at Work research project. “With this guide, organizations can find their way to creating an appropriate and successful inclusive work program that eliminates barriers and provides opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.”

The playbook uses insights gained from workplace experiences of the members of the multi-partner Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable, launched in 2017. The roundtable comprises representatives of partner corporations working to reduce unemployment rates among individuals with autism, which are often 80% or higher. And according to a 2015 National Autism Indicators Report from Drexel University, only about 58% of young adults on the spectrum are employed outside the home after high school and before their early 20s.

Read the full article and download the playbook @

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