Rhiana is a front end developer specialising in making web sites and applications accessible for people with disabilities. Combining her background in educational psychology and a love of computers.
But, you don't look Autistic
Tech Conf '23
If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.
– Dr Stephen Shore
In the media
Possibly harmful sterotypes
Autistic people lack creativity/humour
History of Autism
Looking back at the last 80 years
First described as a high intelligence with emotional disturbance
Changed to a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
ASD is combined with 3 levels of severity
Added as a form of childhood schizophrenia
Split between Asperger's and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Social and communication challenges.
Can be independant but may take longer than peers.
May speak in small sentences.
Narrow interest and repetative motions.
Limited verbal and non-verbal communication.
Requires life time support.
Very Substantial Support
Autistic people can't feel empathy
What would your cat do?
- High attention to detail
- Very precise communication
- Strong sense of loyalty and justice
- Difficulties seeing
"The Big Picture"
- Difficulties "reading between the lines"
- Hard time "putting themselves in someone elses shoes"
Why get diagnosed?
What Causes Autism?
All autistic people are savants
|Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)||17%|
|Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADD || ADHD)
Autism is a "boys" disorder
Excluding girls and women from this kind of research study can lead to treatments that don’t work as well for them, and it contributes to the perception that autism doesn’t affect women as much as men
– Anne Trafton
- Diagnosed at a higher rate 4:1
- 1-2 special interest topics
- Later speech devepment
- Under, incorrectly and diagnosed later
- Various special interest topics
- Average to advanced language skills
- Avid readers
- More likely to mimic to try and fit in
How to Help?
Ourselves and others
|Medication||No specific medication avaliable|
|"Growing out of it"||Lifetime condition|
|Therapies||Occupational, speech & other therapies can help|
|Early intervention||Early detection + therapy = Best outcomes|
The unemployment rate in Australia for autistic people is 34.1%...
This is almost eight times the rate of people without disability (4.6%).
Government funding providers
Autistic people are anti-social
Carefully seperate the "must have" from the "nice to have"
Be explicit in describing attributes.
Internal training on diveristy and unconscious bias.
Promote diversity in your orginisation.
Train the team
Have a mix of assessments, informal chats and activities.
Provide interview details ahead of time.
Rethink the process
Having a frequent, regularly scheduled meeting.
Allowing response time.
Sensory friendly meeting space.
Quiet with gentle lighting.
Building a rapport.
Listening and coming up with individual solutions.
Caused by trying to fit in without support and accomodations
- Fit in more with peers
- Better job opportunities
- Decrease risk of being bullied
Masking Side Effects
- Very tiring
- Risk of burnout
- Imposter syndrome
- Poor self image
But you don't look autistic