Hireup Sessions 2: insights into autism

In case you missed it, we recently hosted our second Hireup Sessions, discussing autism with a panel of experts and streaming the conversation live on Facebook. We had an overwhelming and positive response to the topic conversation with 500 registrants tuning in to the live stream and over 30,000 views on our Facebook page. To keep the conversation going, we thought we’d reflect on the key themes and insights and give more people the chance to engage and provide their thoughts and feedback. If you have anything to add, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or leave a comment below on this post.

There’s no singular lens to autism.

While the panel could only share their perspective and their lived experience, they all seemed to agree that there was no singular way to understand at autism. One panellist Chem, who has lived experience with autism, made reference to the point several times:

I feel like people with autism aren’t that different… I once heard that everyone has a little bit of autism in them in some way.

This set the tone for the conversation as the other panellists mentioned it’s important to:

  • Start with a clean slate everytime clinical psychologist and Hireup Sessions panellist, Dr Ramona Toscano, begins working with a new individual.
  • Understand that autism is vastly different for every person who lives on the autism spectrum or has experienced autism through a close friend or family member, said Nicole Rogerson, founder of Autism Awareness Australia and an advocate for understanding autism for the last 16 years.

Communicate creatively (find your Hireup team and use different supports for different needs).

Parents on the panel, Elisa James (panellist, Hireup user and Plan Tracker www.plantracker.com.au/ founder), and Nicole discussed the idea that because everyone with autism is different, there needs to be an approach that focuses on a case-by-case basis when communicating with people living with autism. It “definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing, everyday has its challenges [on being a parent and growing up with a child on the autism spectrum]… We’ve got to come up with creative ways to communicate and engage,” said Elisa, who uses AUSLAN and other digital platforms to communicate with her son.

It’s about finding different supports for different needs… I think building your team is really important… we have different people for different roles. – Elisa James, Hireup user

Autism is not what the person is about.

Throughout the session each of the panellists gave a little insight into their experiences with autism, whether it be lived, through being a parent or a professional supporting people with autism. As with all disability, autism does not define the individual, but rather the panel discussed how important it is to have an open mind, to be aware and understand that many live their life on the autism spectrum. To “be a bit more aware and understanding of us, and why we do things and certain behaviours,” said Chem, who also spends his time working toward a career in interaction and gaming design.

Autism is not less, it’s different. – Dr Ramona Toscano, clinical psychologist

While we’ve started the conversation there’s a long way to go in moving towards a more inclusive Australia.

Nicole says that it’s crucial to change the preconceived ideas around what autism is and that diverse information sources have become overwhelming in today’s tech driven environment, “there’s so much information to decipher.” Nicole believes it’s a vital discussion that needs to be had if we are going to move towards a more inclusive Australia in the future.

We’d love to keep getting our community involved in these types of discussions and want to know what’s important to you, what we could do better and what you’d like to see in the future as we move forward with Hireup Sessions. Let us know by commenting below on this post, emailing us at hello@hireup.com.au or reaching out on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you.

Register or learn more for our next Hireup Sessions by clicking here.

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