Our May 25 research project is again underway. To participate takes about 5 minutes to answer a few simple questions about the state of DEI initiatives at your organization. All data is strictly anonymous, and participation is voluntary. The survey closes on April 15, 2023. We will post the results in May.
Thank you for your time.
Senior Director, Marketing & Sales
PS Our Open Enrollment Certificate Programs begin again this month.
- Foundations in IDEA begin April 14
- Anti-Racism Education begins May 3
- IDEA Influencer begins July 27
What is World Autism Month?
World Autism Month is observed every April to raise awareness about autism and promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals with autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behaviour. It is estimated that 1 in 54 children in the United States has been identified with autism. According to the most recent report by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among Canadian children and youth aged 5 to 17 years was estimated to be 1 in 66, based on data from 2018. This represents an increase from the previous estimate of 1 in 94 from 2015. It is important to note that the increase in prevalence may be due to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, as well as changes in diagnostic criteria and reporting methods. The report also noted that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, with a male-to-female ratio of 4:1. The exact number of children diagnosed with autism in Canada varies yearly. Various factors can influence it, including changes in diagnostic criteria and reporting methods and increased awareness and access to diagnostic services.
During World Autism Month, various events and activities are organized globally to educate people about autism and promote understanding and acceptance of individuals with autism. Some common activities include autism walks, fundraising events, awareness campaigns, and educational programs for healthcare professionals and the general public. The month-long observance aims to reduce stigma and increase understanding of autism, as well as support individuals with autism and their families.
Why is it Important to Recognize World Autism Month in the Workplace?
It is important to recognize World Autism Month in the workplace because it helps to promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of individuals with autism. Many individuals with autism face significant challenges in the workplace due to difficulties with communication, social interaction, and sensory processing. By recognizing World Autism Month in the workplace, employers can:
- Foster an inclusive work environment | Employers can take steps to create a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive for individuals with autism. This includes accommodations such as flexible work schedules, assistive technology, and sensory-friendly workspaces.
- Raise awareness about autism | By educating employees about autism, employers can help reduce stigma and increase understanding of the challenges individuals face with autism. This can help to create a more supportive workplace culture.
- Support diversity and inclusion | Recognizing World Autism Month in the workplace is part of a broader effort to promote diversity and inclusion. By valuing and supporting employees with autism, employers can help to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace that benefits everyone.
Recognizing World Autism Month in the workplace is an important step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment for individuals with autism.
How Can an Employer Recognize World Autism Month?
There are many ways that an employee can recognize World Autism Month in the workplace. Here are some suggestions:
- Share information | Share information about autism with your colleagues, such as articles, videos, or personal stories. This can help to increase understanding and reduce stigma.
- Host an event | Consider hosting an event, such as a lunch and learn, to educate colleagues about autism and provide an opportunity for discussion and questions.
- Volunteer | Many organizations and charities focused on autism rely on volunteers. Consider volunteering your time or skills to help support individuals with autism or their families.
- Fundraise | Consider organizing a workplace fundraiser or participating in a local autism-related event, such as a walk or run. This can help raise research, advocacy, or support programs funds.
- Use social media | Use social media to share information about World Autism Month or to show support for individuals with autism.
These are just a few ideas for recognizing World Autism Month in the workplace. The important thing is to find a way to show support and increase awareness and understanding of autism.
What is Inclusive Communication? 10 Examples to Practice.
Inclusive communication uses language and communication styles that are respectful and considerate of diverse audiences. Inclusive communication aims to create an environment where everyone feels valued and included, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or other characteristics.
Inclusive communication involves actively seeking to understand the perspectives and experiences of others and adapting communication styles to ensure that everyone can participate fully. Inclusive communication also involves actively listening to others and acknowledging their perspectives, even if they differ from your own. This can help to build trust and respect between individuals and create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture.
What are the Benefits of Inclusive Communication?
- Promotes diversity and inclusion
Using inclusive language helps create a workplace culture that is welcoming and respectful to all employees, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or other characteristics. This can help to promote diversity and inclusion and reduce feelings of exclusion or marginalization.
- Avoids offence or harm
Using exclusionary language or language that is insensitive to others can be offensive or harmful and can lead to tension or conflict in the workplace. Inclusive language can help avoid unintentional offence or harm and promote a more positive and respectful workplace environment.
- Supports effective communication
Inclusive language can support effective communication by ensuring all employees understand and participate in workplace conversations and activities. It can also help to avoid misunderstandings or miscommunications that can arise from using language that is not inclusive.
- Enhances collaboration and teamwork
Using inclusive language can help to build trust and respect between team members and create a more collaborative and supportive work environment. This can lead to improved teamwork, productivity, and job satisfaction.
- Improved employee engagement
Inclusive communication helps employees feel valued and respected, improving job satisfaction and engagement.
- Increased innovation
A culture of inclusive communication encourages employees to share their diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas, leading to increased innovation and creativity.
- Higher productivity
Employees who feel included and valued are more likely to be motivated and productive, leading to higher performance levels.
- Greater employee retention
Inclusive communication helps create a workplace culture that is supportive and welcoming to all employees, which can lead to increased employee retention and lower turnover rates.
- Improved reputation
Organizations prioritizing inclusive communication can enhance their reputation as an employer of choice, attracting top talent and customers who value diversity and inclusion.
10 Examples of Inclusive Communication
- Use gender-neutral language | Avoid using gendered language such as "he" or "she" when referring to a person of unknown gender. Instead, use gender-neutral pronouns such as "they" or rephrase the sentence to avoid pronouns altogether.
- Avoid stereotypes | Avoid making assumptions about individuals based on their race, gender, or other characteristics. This can include avoiding stereotypes about job roles or expectations based on gender or race.
- Use person-first language | Use language that places the person first, rather than their disability or other characteristics. For example, "a person with a disability" instead of "a disabled person."
- Be aware of cultural differences | Be aware of and respect cultural differences in communication styles and preferences. This may involve adapting communication styles to ensure that everyone can participate fully.
- Use plain language | Use plain language that is easy to understand and avoids jargon or technical terms that may be confusing or exclusionary.
- Encourage open communication | Encourage open communication and active listening to ensure all employees feel heard and valued. This may involve actively seeking out and listening to diverse perspectives and experiences.
- Provide accommodations | Provide accommodations such as translation services or assistive technology to ensure that all employees can participate fully in workplace conversations and activities.
- Avoid language that is discriminatory or offensive | Avoid using language that is discriminatory or offensive, such as slurs or derogatory terms.
- Use inclusive job titles | Use inclusive job titles that do not rely on gendered terms, such as "police officer" instead of "policeman" or "policewoman."
- Avoid ageism | Avoid making assumptions or judgments based on age, such as assuming that an older employee is less tech-savvy or less productive. Instead, focus on individual abilities and accomplishments.
Promoting inclusive communication in the workplace can offer significant benefits to an organization, including improved employee engagement, enhanced collaboration, increased innovation, higher productivity, greater employee retention, and improved reputation.
In Case You Missed It
- Why You Should Invest in DEI Training
- What is Neurodiversity & Why Is It Important in the Workplace
- What is Workplace Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility
- Psychological Safety for Promoting Workplace Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility
- Microlearning as Part of D&I Training & Development
- Becoming an Inclusive Leader is an Ongoing Process
Here is a non-comprehensive list of days of awareness or commemorative days related to inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility for April 2023 in Canada
- April 2: World Autism Awareness Day
- April 7: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda
- April 10-16: National Volunteer Week
- April 19: National Canadian Immigrant Day
- April 22: Earth Day
Please note that while these days do not necessarily focus solely on inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility, they are recognized and celebrated in Canada as important dates related to these themes. Other awareness or commemorative days related to these themes may be celebrated in Canada during April 2023.