As the Diversity and Inclusion Council reminded us, April is also National Autism Awareness Month, a month that has special meaning for me. Some of you know that I am the parent of a child on the autism spectrum. My daughter Carson was diagnosed when she was 6 years old. At the time Carson was diagnosed, the prevalence rate was 1 out of every 110 children. In 2021, that rate is now 1 out of every 54. Its prevalence rate now places autism as the third most common developmental disability – yet the majority of the public, are still unaware of how autism affects people and how to effectively work with individuals with autism.
As Carson, now 20, and so many others with autism reach adulthood, I often wonder what opportunities exist for these special people to find their place in the world. I also think about our industry, the Hospitality Industry, and how we may be able to help.
In England, a recently established hotel, The Portland Guesthouse, is focusing on providing adults with autism an opportunity to have a career in hospitality. You can learn more about it by clicking here.
The simple definition of Hospitality is “the friendly and generous treatment of guests or strangers”. In keeping with that Hospitality definition, we can begin to do our part by ensuring:
All individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, have the right to live as full participants in society.
All people have the right to be treated with dignity and understanding.
People with autism and related disabilities have the right to be regarded as individuals who need services and supports that are based on their unique characteristics.
By following these principles and coming together to develop creative programs like the one at The Portland Guesthouse, we can begin to do our part to welcome this amazing community of people into our #SHFMOneHospitalityFamily.