October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor. Although this has been a designated event—in various forms—since 1945, few companies actively recruit people with disabilities.
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A recent article in the Houston Chronicle highlights this issue. The headline shares a statistic from advocacy group Autism Speaks, estimating that 500,000 teens with autism will age out of school programs over the next decade. The rate of autism occurrence also continues to climb, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increasing the rate to 1 in 59 children earlier this year.
Organizations focused on helping young adults with autism and other disabilities gain independence—such as the ones highlighted in the article—are encouraging more companies to hire those they represent. One challenge can be convincing employers that the effort of making accommodations will pay off. Employers interviewed in the article say the benefits are numerous and definitely worth the effort.
Shelley D. Hutchins is content producer/editor for The ASHA Leader. email@example.com.