I would like to tell you a personal story about autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to autismspeaks.org, ASD refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.

Aparna was narrating how she learned her son would suddenly shout in joy or suddenly start biting himself or others. As a parent, she said it was quite overwhelming and confusing. There was a lot of responsibility on her as the mother, and mostly she was the one who was blamed. Dhruv would also come to have challenges with socialization, communicating his needs, and understanding pattern.

Being autistic does not mean the person is not understanding or they cannot perform. They are rather far more empathetic beings than the ordinary. There is a disparity between what they feel, what they emote and what they seek to convey — their brain operates at a higher frequency than usual, and they are rather more focused than the average person. Dhruv had taught his mom that while the world is constantly running to prove who is superior, she was able to see life from a more humbling point of view in letting peace and harmony pervade their sweet little circumference of glee. She says with a gentle tone, “We ought to know that no matter what life throws at you — silver spoons or lemons — anyone can be born with this condition and seeing them with eyes of love and acceptance makes your world a beautiful place.”

It was quite touching to know what goes through her mind — it was about unlearning the definitions of societal living and what this world looks at. She had to start deriving philosophical meanings toward success, performance, and intellectuals and the various dimensions of social conjecture.

Imagine what autistic people could bring to a workplace — sheer unparalleled dedication along with varied outlook and an air of enhanced empathy to each one of us. However, it is upon each of us to welcome them graciously without any spark of unconscious bias. It is told that autistic people tend to mask themselves to feel belonged — they carry a yearning desire to prove to the world that they are equal, and they are naturally intensely caring and accommodative.

It becomes important for teams in organizations to establish norms to recognize and then respect ASD colleagues’ needs and create a collaboratively-fostering environment. Having a diverse group of associates takes the reciprocation, empathy, trust, and the belief of making each of them feel secure while everyone coming together. And that is true inclusion.