Almost 200 people turned out to this year’s Autism@ Work Summit to learn about and share the benefits of transitioning to a neurodiverse workplace. Guest speakers John Marble, International Neurodiversity & Innovation Consultant and Lawrence Fung, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project at Stanford University, along with a range of panellists presented in front of a capacity crowd in Melbourne.
Three quarters of attendees were new to the event, now in its third year. This year’s attendees represented an even broader field of prospective employers, including the Department of Defence, Federal Police, small business owners, start-ups, local councils, state government departments and large corporations, demonstrating the increasing interest in the business benefits of neurodiverse workplaces.
Sessions on a range of topics included mental health support, options for neurodiverse employment programs outside IT, transitioning from school to employment, and neurodiverse 'placemaking'.
A highlight of the day was a panel discussion featuring six autistic employees, working in a range of industries including agriculture, technology, finance and graphic design. All were great examples of the lasting and positive change that meaningful employment can have on people’s lives.
An executive breakfast the morning of the event also provided an opportunity for executives to speak with company directors and senior managers who are leading the way. The breakfast was also at capacity, demonstrating the strong interest at the executive level for transitioning to a neurodiverse workforce.
Thank you to our event partners DXC Technology and NAB, sponsors ANZ, SAP and Untapped, and to all those who worked so hard to bring together an event that is helping to change the attitudes and practices of Australian workplaces. As keynote speaker John Marble deftly pointed out, "The practices you develop to help autistic people thrive actually help everybody thrive".
Videos of the keynote sessions and most other presentations will be made available in the near future.