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Cushman & Wakefield Champions Autism Acceptance and Calls for Industry Wide Inclusion

Jess Freeman • 27/05/2024

Walk for Autism.jpg

Employees from global real estate services leader Cushman & Wakefield are stepping up and joining thousands of Australians walking 7k steps a day during May, to raise understanding and acceptance for Autistic individuals, particularly the 70 percent who experience mental health issues.

Aspect’s annual Walk for autism fundraising campaign is in its ninth year and has raised more than $7.7 million since inception, to support the estimated 1 in 40 Australiansi  on the autism spectrum.

Anna Town, Head of Business Development Services, Asia Pacific & EMEA at Cushman & Wakefield said the firm’s participation in Walk for autism is a fantastic way to show support for employees, contractors, clients and their families on the autism spectrum.
“With about 1 in 40 people now estimated to be on the autism spectrum1, it highlights how common neurodiversity is as well as the need to increase understanding and supports for the estimated 675,000 Australians on the autism spectrum,” said Town.
“Walk for autism has been a wonderful way to learn more about autism and foster conversations about neurodiversity within our organisation. Employees have shared personal experiences and insights about being Autistic or having loved ones on the autism spectrum, which has helped build a stronger, more connected community within our firm. Plus, we’re getting fitter together!”
Town added that simply starting a conversation and asking an Autistic colleague about their needs is one of the most powerful ways to show empathy and support, and to understand the necessary adjustments that would enable full engagement at work.
“Our journey towards inclusivity is ongoing. As a company and industry leader, we are dedicated to creating genuinely inclusive workplaces and facilities. The built environment influences every facet of our lives, from where we live and work to how we travel and spend our leisure time.  As an industry, we must ensure that these spaces are accessible, inclusive, and welcoming for people of all abilities,” said Town.
Dr Vicki Gibbs, Head of Research at Aspect said this year’s Walk for autism campaign is highlighting the fact that about 70% of autistic people experience mental health issues and that living in a world that is not autism-friendly can cause or exacerbate mental health problems.  
“We know the world is not autism-friendly and we are committed to changing that, particularly through education, as understanding fosters empathy and acceptance,” said Dr Gibbs.
Aspect’s Autism Friendly Team collaborates with organisations nationwide to conduct environmental assessments, providing advice on how to improve accessibility and inclusion for Autistic people in a wide range of settings including workplaces, public spaces, events and venues.
“We appreciate the dedication of the Cushman & Wakefield team, not only of Walk for autism, but to the broader mission of enhancing access in our built environments. Together we’re working towards an autism-friendly Australia through accessible physical spaces and a shift in attitudes and behaviours,” added Dr Gibbs.

Actions to support Autistic individuals in the workplace include: 

Respect and accept Autistic people: Recognise that everyone is unique, and autism presents differently in each individual.
Open communication: Ask the individual how they prefer to communicate and ask if they require any support.
Avoid assumptions: Avoid stereotyping based on preconceived notions of autism. 
Be patient: Allow the individual time to process information and express themselves in their own way.

QRCushman & Wakefield recently released a whitepaper, “Dignified Access: Paving the way for an inclusive workplace” outlining steps companies can take towards inclusivity in workplace designs. 

Help the 60+ Cushman & Wakefield staff, who have already raised over $17,000 by donating at: www.walkforautism.org.au/fundraisers/cushmanandwakefield

For more information: Karen Keech karen@establishedpr.com.au 0411 052 408


 Aspect calculation based on prevalence studies conducted from 2019–23

 

About Aspect
Aspect (Autism Spectrum Australia )  is Australia’s largest autism-specific service provider, with one of the world’s biggest autism-specific schools programs. A not-for-profit organisation, we work in partnership with people of all ages on the autism spectrum and their families to deliver distinct services, practices and research that recognise a different brilliant® - understanding, engaging and celebrating the strengths and interests of people on the autism spectrum

 

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