There are many different factors that go into successful employment for people with and without autism. As part of the ASF policy brief on employment, the US, Australia and Sweden held meetings with autistic adults, family members and employers and asked “what are the issues in your words”? Then they were mapped onto areas of functioning, not ability or disability. One thing that stands out is “matching interests and skills to job requirements”. This is important, but a complicated issue. This week’s podcast reviews what autistic people say, how it maps onto functioning and why we need to be careful about taking a one – sided approach to autism. Listen to the podcast here.
People with autism are less likely to be physically active and more likely to be sedentary. A number of studies have looked into different physical activities, both group based and individually, on improvements in health as well as core features of autism, and most have had positive results. New animal model research demonstrates a benefit of exercise using the maternal immune activation model of ASD, pruning back the excess of connections and cell fibers. As people with autism also have too many connections in the brain, this may have a direct therapeutic benefit. But besides all the scientific conjecture, we all need more exercise, physical activity interventions seem to only help, not hurt, people across the spectrum, and should be used to complement, not replace existing therapies. Listen to the podcast here.