Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day – and Autism Acceptance Month
Today the world recognizes and celebrates the rights of individuals with autism. World Autism Awareness Day, established in 2008 by the United Nations, is an international observance to make us mindful of this complex, lifelong developmental disability, which typically appears in early childhood. We also join organizations like the Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks to celebrate our differences throughout April’s Autism Acceptance Month, a formal shift from Autism Awareness Month, announced in early March.
Neurodiversity Hiring Program
It’s gratifying that Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more translates into our corporate diversity and inclusion value which helps us engage many different perspectives to drive innovation. As Neil Barnett, Microsoft’s director of Inclusive Hiring and Accessibility, said on World Autism Day 2020: The value proposition for diversity and inclusion within Microsoft is increasingly clear – a diverse and inclusive workforce will yield better products and solutions for our customers, and better experiences for our employees.
In April 2015, Microsoft introduced a pilot program to hire people with autism and open doors for long-term career opportunities. That pilot evolved into the Microsoft Neurodiversity Hiring Program, reflecting how we are expanding inclusive hiring practices and increasing the diversity of our workforce.
Solving the ‘front door’ experience
This program helps solve the “front door” experience for candidates on the spectrum by offering a different interview, hiring and onboarding process, built on four dimensions:
The program also offers built-in accommodations – for example, extra time for interviews, longer breaks between interviews and more – providing each candidate options supporting their individual needs.
Since 2015, Microsoft has recruited and hired more than 100 employees with neurodiverse disabilities who are supporting 95 organizations – Azure, Customer Support, HoloLens, Windows, Xbox and others.
I hope you’ll join me today, throughout April and beyond, to create awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with autism and other neurodiverse disorders. Our support is especially critical as we continue battling COVID-19 and strive to ensure those with autism have what U.N. Secretary General António Guterres calls, “the right to self-determination, independence and autonomy as well as the right to education and employment on an equal basis with others.”
Apr 02, 2021 at 20:15