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And you, are you prepared?

How many adult autistic people are employed? And under what conditions? And those who are not employed, why are they not employed? And what needs to be done at company level so that autistic people can become part of their staff?


A lot of questions? I understand. Believe me, there are many doubts. And many autistic people are in precarious situations, even when compared with other people with disabilities and who usually know the difficulties we are talking about here. I write again - in Europe there are about 5 million autistic people!


In the United Kingdom it is said that around 70% of adult autistic people are unemployed. And it is no coincidence that this year a package of about 2.7 million pounds was approved to address this situation. In Australia, it is said that around 34% of adult autistic people are in these same conditions. And here in Portugal, how many are those in similar conditions? We don't know. And as we don't know, we don't have an adequate response to these situations. And no, do not say that Law 4/2019, which establishes quotas for people with disabilities when entering companies, responds to these situations. And why? many people ask. Because many autistic people are not considered within what is stipulated by the legislation and do not have a level of disability equal to or greater than 60%.


As such, we have adult autistic people in Portugal who have completed the compulsory education, many have vocational training that grants them a professional certification and many others have higher education, but still cannot get over this obstacle into the labour market. And with all the implications that this fact has for the mental and physical health of the person, besides their autonomy, independence and human dignity.


And no, I'm not forgetting all the companies that are already hiring inclusively and that even have a policy in their Organisation that is clearly compatible with a neurodiverse functioning. But I assure you that it is not reaching 1% of the adult autistic population. And it does not include the heterogeneity of training existing in autistic people. And for those who don't know or still continue to believe, autistic people are not all pro-tech, teckies, computer and programming geeks. Although many can be helped to be retrained from the point of view of their training and profession so that they can integrate more easily and quickly into the labour market. However, we need to think that people have the right to choose the area where they want to work.


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