Celebrating neurodiversity on World Autism Awareness Day

  • Posted on March 30, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes

April 2 marks World Autism Awareness Day, a United Nations-designated commemoration dedicated to uplifting the stories of people on the autism spectrum. In honor of this day, we’re spotlighting three Avanade employees from across the globe who have first-hand experience with autism, sharing how they champion neurodiversity in both their professional and personal lives.

I am autistic. I am #AvanadeProud.

I joined Avanade as a Back-End Developer in September 2020 via a partnership between the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) and Avanade. At the time, Avanade was hosting a six-week training program with ARC for job seekers on the autism spectrum, with the potential to be hired after. I applied, passed the training, and have been working at Avanade ever since.

Autism generally impacts my social skills and my executive functioning skills. I find it difficult to alter my speech and behavior in accordance with whomever I am talking to, so I sometimes end up making social blunders (e.g. saying things that should not be said, or behaving too casually) when talking to people in positions of authority. With regard to executive functioning, I often require help with task prioritization and clear deadlines as I find it difficult to sequence the order tasks should be done and when they should be completed. My colleagues have been very understanding of the accommodations I require to function at my best.

I wish people understood that autistic people, when given time and resources to adapt to a learning curve, can learn and even excel at new tasks. However, also bear in mind that we have innate disabilities that we cannot control. It’s important to take these aspects into consideration when assigning us work, giving us time and space to understand and deliver on the requirements while avoiding work that we are inherently likely to fail at (e.g. sales).

Maria Lee, Singapore

Finding a better path toward success at work

In early 2021, at 25 years old, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This was something I had suspected for a long time. Several people in my family are on the spectrum and I could always relate to their struggles and experiences.

At the time of my diagnosis, I had already been with Avanade for over a year. I knew that Avanade projected a very inclusive image, but I was still afraid of negative reactions. I didn’t how much I could trust this image and what being open would mean for me in practice. With being so recently diagnosed, I also wasn’t sure what accommodations to ask for.  

Despite the worries, I decided to open up to my career adviser. He was very supportive, and together we came up with accommodations that could help me in my work. We also worked with scheduling to find projects that play to my strengths and allow me to work in an environment that fits my needs. Another great source of support came from connecting with other colleagues on the spectrum. With my recent diagnosis, I sometimes struggled to find things that could make my work easier. Learning about the experience of others at Avanade was very helpful to find my own path.

Today I work on a project that allows me to work from home most days, with very understanding colleagues. I have control over my own work environment and have most meetings with my camera turned off. With these accommodations in place, I’m able to work without spending all my energy on masking. I work more efficiently and am left with more energy at the end of the day to do things I enjoy in the evening.

– Teresa Duchilio, Netherlands

At Avanade, I champion the unique talents of neurodiverse individuals – like my son

I joined Avanade in September of 2000, and my son was born in 2009. His diagnosis didn’t come until 2016. At that time, I didn’t know how to be a champion for him, but I did know that he was perfectly perfect, and I needed to figure out what was next. Later that year, I was chosen to be a part of the Avanade Leadership Program for Women (ALPW) and that experience changed me. There, I found my voice – the one that I hadn’t used so loudly yet to go out and fight for him, demand accommodations, learn all that I could, and share my story. I haven’t stopped since.


He’s an incredible kid. I’ve seen him struggle with things that are easier for most children, like attending a basketball game or a concert because of the noise or taking breaks to self-regulate when he is overwhelmed, being flexible with food choices and clothing that he feels comfortable wearing or understanding the social dynamic that most of us take for granted. It’s not easy for him. But oh, how I’ve seen him excel! He’s kind and big-hearted, clever and creative, a master builder, can memorize facts, numbers, and statistics, and recall things from memory that he’s only heard once. Being neurodiverse is just one part of him and helping him and others like him to courageously share their voices, advocate for themselves and have opportunities to showcase the beautiful workings of their minds is my mission.


As the Advocacy board lead for the DiversAbility Employee Network at Avanade, my goal is to pave the way for more inclusion for neurodiverse individuals in the workplace and to champion the unique talents and skills that people with autism have. When we include those with different perspectives, talents, and points of view the impact they can bring will help us change the world – and you can sign me up for that! 


Elisabeth Cannon, U.S.

Neda Horsley

Thank you for sharing your journeys with us 

April 6, 2023

Deepa Arjan

Thank you Maria, Teresa and Elisabeth for sharing your stories and helping us all learn how to be more inclusive!

April 3, 2023

Marie-Claire Latour

Well said Deepa. Thx you all . 

April 6, 2023

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