Banishing Autism Discrimination and Stereotypes From the Workplace


Harmful autism stereotypes are perpetuated and reinforced by popular media such as movies and novels. Some examples are movies including Rain Man, Snow Cake, Mercury Rising and Mozart and the Whale.

One of the most harmful autism stereotypes is the thinking that autistic people are all geniuses. While it is true that some autistic people actually are geniuses, it’s also true that autistic people have a wide range of intellectual abilities.

This stereotype is harmful because it has contributed to a false perception of what autism really is. A closely related stereotype, that autistic people all have excellent memories, is harmful for the same reason. While some autistic people are gifted with better-than-average memories, others are not.

Many autistic people feel strongly that it’s harmful when other people make light of their autism by declaring that everyone has a bit of autism. This viewpoint is problematic because it incorrectly minimises the neurological differences between people with autism and people without. There are real, scientifically documented differences; many autistic people feel that denying this reality is dismissive of the struggles autistic people face.

Autism Discrimination in the Workplace

While some noteworthy companies like Microsoft and SAP are embracing autistic employees, there is still an unacceptable amount of autism discrimination in the workplace. CBS News reports an estimated 80 percent unemployment rate among autistic adults of working age. HR Zone reports that 79 percent of the autistic adults who are collecting out-of-work benefits really want to be part of the workforce.

We need to do better.

Experts in the Australian government estimate that there are 164,000 autistic Aussies. We can’t afford to marginalise such a large group of potential workers. With some simple and careful accommodations, these individuals could be productive members of our workforce. One example of a suggested accommodation is providing a detailed checklist of tasks to be performed — which, really, if you think about it, is a good idea to give any employee.

Equipping Our Future Human Resources Managers to Embrace a Diverse WorkForce

Hiring managers have a natural tendency to employ others like themselves. This is problematic in the workplace because teams need a diversity of viewpoints and strengths to succeed; and individual team members’ weaknesses also need to be diversified and compensated for.

With autistic people being a distinct minority in the workplace, they are often passed over for jobs they’d excel at — a phenomenon that is likely due to the aforementioned tendency for people to hire others like themselves.

Education is essential, first of all, for creating awareness about the need for diversity in the workplace. It’s also essential for creating awareness about how to harness the strengths of this largely untapped and talented potential workforce. One of the keys is understanding the simple accommodations that employers can make to help empower autistic people to become truly productive team members.

Cutting-edge degree programs in human resources management include coursework relating to issues in diversity. It’s crucial for us to expose our future HR managers to these important ideas promoting inclusion. It’s also imperative that we banish the harmful, inaccurate stereotypes and make an effort to understand who our autistic colleagues really are.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

Creating a family environment for children with disabilities


According to the UNICEF, there are at least 93 million children with disability across the world. Even as their numbers continue to grow, experts worry that the ignorance surrounding disability rights and needs will compound challenges faced by these kids. Disability rights activists have been vocal about and campaigning for better understanding of these issues among policy makers, medical professionals, educators and even authorities.

However, experts say that this ignorance also needs to be tackled at home, where it can become particularly problematic for the child. Even parents of kids with disabilities may need extra help from experts to create a nurturing and safe home for disabled children. As every child is unique, there is no one-solution-fits-all approach to their challenges but broadly, these are some of the guidelines that experts want parents to consider.

  1. Reach out for help

Know that you are not alone at all. It is really possible to receive specific assistance for your child’s requirements, if you are open to reaching out for help. Your friends and other parents, however well-meaning they may be, cannot help you with your child’s specific behavioral problems. Instead of speaking to everyone, get in touch with professionals, disability services and intervention services to understand how to respond to your child’s needs. There are groups and forums with parents in similar situation as you. Also, there are plenty of resources and reading material to help you through a range of parenting challenges.

  1. Be fair to the siblings

This measure is important because the response of the other children, while the parents try to introduce adjustments in the family, may vary from feeling resentful to being protective of the child. These reactions vary from case to case. Therefore, instead of just hiding the problem or giving plain instructions, parents need to explain the disability and changes at home to their other children.

It is important to ensure that all children get quality one-on-one time with their parents to build a positive and nurturing environment at home. Parents should ensure that they do not just talk about the disability all the time, specially during these one-on-one conversations.

  1. Empower the child with information

Let the child know about the challenges, options and approaches regarding his/her situation. The disability is just one part of the child. The more they know about their difficulties, the easier it will be for them to accept the situation and make choices. This measure will also help them in dealing with social myths and ignorance surrounding disability.

  1. Make time for yourself

Raising a child with disability can be a worrying and stressful experience for the parent. Therefore, it is really important that parents learn to take time out for themselves to do things they enjoy. The logic is simple – if you are unable to be happy and take care of yourself, how will you take care of the family? Without feeling guilty, take a few minutes out for yourself everyday.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

Scientists Discover New Organ that can Help Explain How Cancer Spreads


A breakthrough in the discovery of a new human organ could significantly aid the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

This new organ, called interstitium, is a series of fluid-filled compartments joined together by a web-like structure made of strong and thick collagen called the elastin.

Real-time imaging technique enabled scientists to discover this new organ, which previously was undetected due to the conventional method of gathering samples out of dead tissue in a microscope slide which requires to be chemically treated, in turn draining away fluid. With the liquids sucked out of its compartment, the whole structure becomes invisible as it turns flat. Using in vivo examination, which refers to drawing samples from living tissues through endomicroscopy, specialists were able to discover cavities previously unknown to human anatomy while looking at a patient’s bile duct during a pancreato-billary surgical procedure.

“What we saw is this layer of the bile duct is this open fluid filled space supported by this collagen bundle latticework,” Dr. Neil Theise, a pathologist from New York University who conducted the study along with Doctors David Carr-Locke and Petros Benias of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, explains the significance of the discovery while looking for signs of cancer in the bile duct.

Scientists found that interstitium serves as ‘shock-absorbers’ and can be found not only in the bile duct where scientists first encountered the organ, but also under the skin surrounding the lungs, gallbladder, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, and surrounds most muscles and arteries. It helps protects organs subject to compression and distension whether constant, such as the heart and lungs, or intermittent, an example being the digestive tract after consuming food. It is thought to be one of the largest organs of the human body.

According to Theise, “It looks exactly like what shock absorbers are, there are these structures that flexibly contain fluid and can compress and then fill back up again.”

Interstitial fluid, which is rich in protein and used for the production of lymph, drains into the lymphatic system which is responsible for the body’s immunity against bacteria and viruses. However, evidence also shows that cancer cells can make their way into the lymphatic system through the interstitium. This pattern could prove to be a breakthrough in cancer research and treatments.

Theise has an optimistic outlook for the study’s findings. “This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool,” the pathologist said.

“These anatomic structures may be important in cancer metastasis, edema, fibrosis, and mechanical functioning of many or all tissues and organs.” He added that these understanding this network of interwoven web of fluids can pave the way for scientists to learn more and find ways of fighting against certain diseases.

The discovery of interstitium may be just one of the most significant findings in the field of medicine. With its ever-changing and limitless possibilities, modern science continues to transform the face of healthcare and its accessibility. Equipping yourself with health and income protection insurance assures that you get the professional care you and your family deserve.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.