Autism Acceptance Club Hosts Hire Autism Guest Speaker

Julia Bouchut and Anya Mirza, Contributing Writers

On Monday, the Autism Acceptance Club (AAC) invited Amanda Rioux, the Director of Hire Autism, and Courtney Carroll, Associate at Hire Autism, to teach Upper Division students about what the job search is like for people on the autism spectrum.

“We’re going to be the employers of the future, so we’re going to have to find ways to make our work environment more inclusive and it starts at school,” Co-president of the AAC Hannah Moss (11) said.

Hire Autism is a branch of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), a group dedicated to improving the everyday lives of people on the autistic spectrum, Rioux said. Hire Autism helps people on the spectrum find employment opportunities and obtain the accommodations they need to succeed in the workplace, she said. 

One factor exacerbating the difficulties of finding employment for people with autism is the failure of typical workplaces to cater to the needs of those individuals, Rioux said. For example, fluorescent lights in some office buildings can distract some people on the spectrum and can affect their ability to be productive. 

Despite their simplicity, these accommodations remain uncommon due to the lack of awareness about autistic people’s needs, both in their workplace and throughout the job search, Rioux said. 

The school can help increase the employment of people with autism, Rioux said. During large events, the school can use vendors that hire autistic people or are autism-friendly, such as Luv Michael, Girl Again, Good Reasons, and Popcorn for the People.

Students who attended the presentation felt hopeful about the expanding employment opportunities for individuals with autism, Ariela Shuchman (11) said. “It was really amazing to hear about the jobs that are available for autistic people,” she said.

Moss shared Shuchman’s sentiment. “I was really happy to hear that a lot of companies are making progress in terms of their accessibility and eagerness to have more autistic people join their workforces,” she said.

While the AAC has been more active in the past year, Moss hopes to expand the club in the future and partner with Kingsbridge Heights Community Center after school program for disabled kids, she said.