Raising awareness about people on the Autism spectrum and how they can be integrated into their communities and inclusion at the place of work is a fundamental aspect of World Autism Awareness Month.
Throughout the month of April, the Inspire Foundation sought the support of entities like Bank of Valletta to help raise awareness about Autism and how an employee on the spectrum can be supported and integrated into the workforce, thereby contributing fully towards an organization’s goals. For such employees to feel comfortable, the first step is to raise awareness, so that their peers can appreciate their different abilities and strengths, such as excellence at pattern recognition, thinking ‘outside the box’, and outstanding attention to detail. On the other hand, it is also important to recognize the challenges they may face, particularly in relation to social skills and repetitive behaviour.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex neurodevelopment disability characterized by difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech, and nonverbal communication. This disorder can be detected from an early stage in a child’s life. Since autism is a spectrum disorder, every person with autism has a unique and personal journey, each representing a wide range of strengths and challenges.
Speaking about the Bank’s involvement in this initiative, Ray Debattista from the Bank’s People and Culture explained that, with a workforce of over 2,000 employees, Bank of Valletta has one of the largest workforces on the islands and recognizes and values each and every employee. “We are conscious that every individual has different abilities and special circumstances that we need to respect and develop. These are cornerstones of the Bank’s people strategy”. He thanked the Bank’s CSR team headed by Charles Azzopardi for carrying out an initiative that puts in the spotlight topics that are relevant and critical to the Bank’s cultural composition.
The Inspire Foundation has built a solid reputation as an NGO working with individuals who need support in coping with different abilities, including autism and cerebral palsy. Through its dedicated professional staff and volunteers, it provides a range of services and resources that provide patients with a more cost-effective service, long-term sustainability and added value.