April 2, 2022 kicks off the 15-year anniversary of World Autism Month, a digital campaign driven by a mission to raise awareness and increase our global understanding and acceptance of individuals experiencing autism.
Each year the United Nations selects a theme for World Autism Month and this year is a continuation of 2021: Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World.
For those of us involved in real estate, World Autism Month presents a unique opportunity to empower agents and brokers in celebrating neurodiversity in the real estate industry as well as support and service clients with family members impacted by autism.
Our Elm Street family wants to help empower you with information and resources. We’ve tapped into friends, colleagues, and community to create a set of proven tips, tricks and strategies for real estate success and autism, broken down into two categories:
+ Agents Serving Families with Members on the Spectrum
+ Brokers Serving Agents on the Spectrum
Consider the idea of priming, an intervention that helps prepare an individual for an upcoming activity or event in which they might find difficult (going to the dentist, for example). When visiting new homes during a showing, video priming in the form of a virtual tour may help combat anxiety associated with visiting a new location. Listings with virtual showings, and a robust portfolio of pictures may have added value for families with one or more members on the autism spectrum.
Other considerations may be important for some individuals and helpful for agents to know about during the house hunting process, ranging from safety to sounds and stimulation. Homes on a busy street or with many entrances and exits may not be ideal for certain families. Others may want to relocate within a school district that offers robust programs and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Brokers or agents who disclose their disability may communicate differently or have unique requirements when working together in a professional capacity. Providing an office space with quiet, non-stimulating workspaces or allowing individuals to work from home can benefit us all, and particularly anyone needing to focus without interruption. Some individuals work best when they can ask for specific accommodations like the ability to reference written instructions, taking frequent breaks, or sticking to a specific schedule. Having an open dialogue and being flexible with the people who serve you and your clients is key to workplace harmony.
Neurodiversity is something to be celebrated and valued. Families experiencing autism know this well and may appreciate working with an agent who understands the nuances of what they experience on a daily basis. In many cases, an agent with autism may recognize or recommend a home based on what they know will work best for someone who experiences the world like they do.
For more information:
Follow Autism Speaks for important articles and resources on autism awareness, including personal stories submitted by individuals, families, businesses, and organizations around the world this month and all year long.