Washington, D.C., December 3 – This past month, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a federal advisory committee dedicated to addressing policy issues impacting people on the autism spectrum, actively solicited public feedback to help develop a new 2021-2022 IACC Strategic Plan. In response, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of neurodiverse people in the workforce.
“I’m proud to serve on the Board of RespectAbility and support these extraordinarily helpful recommendations to enhance disability inclusion in the federal workforce. Simply put, the federal government needs to set a positive example as the country’s largest employer by adopting all the best practices that it tells the private sector to do through OFCCP and ODEP,” said Craig Lean, a board member of RespectAbility, a neurodiversity advocate, and former federal official.
Lean went on to add that: “The federal government should appoint a Chief Accessibility Officer of the United States, conduct annual self-audits of hiring, compensation, and promotions for individuals with disabilities, and develop neurodiversity and autism at work programs. Likewise, the federal government should commit to increased hiring of individuals with disabilities in all agencies, instead of leaving it up to the ad hoc discretion of individual agencies whether to do so. There is so much more that could be accomplished if the federal government would follow its own excellent advice to businesses.”
There are approximately 3.5 million Americans living on the autism spectrum and there are many more people who have yet to be diagnosed. Further, prevalence has been increasing over time and as of the 2020 school year there were approximately 717,000 students on the Autism spectrum in America’s K-12 system.