Specialisterne Foundation and Australia Join Forces to Employ People with Autism

Specialisterne Foundation and HP Australia Join Forces

For the first time in Australia, the Department of Human Services and HP Australia will work together with Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) to provide skilled employment for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Minister for Human Services Senator the Hon Marise Payne said an agreement between the three organisations, which will provide 12 candidates with employment through a three-year traineeship, was signed last night. Continue reading

Royal Recognition for Specialisterne in Poland

Royal Recognition for Specialisterne

Specialisterne Fundacja Polska was among the organisations profiled in the recent Danish Royal Visit to Poland. Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (pictured above with Specialisterne Foundation COO Henrik Thomsen, Danish Minister for Health Nick Hækkerup and Specialisterne Candidate Dominik Warzecha) paid an official visit to Poland from May 12-14, heading up a Danish business promotional campaign. The visit focused on Danish-Polish trade in a number of areas, including, fashion and design, energy and the environment, and health and rehab.  The goal of the two-day event was to support and promote current Danish businesses in Poland, and to help plant new seeds of opportunity for Danish companies wishing to establish themselves there.

Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Mary of Denmark speaking with SPF CFO Henrik Thomsen (left) and Danish Minister for Health Nick Hækkerup.

Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Mary of Denmark speaking with Specialisterne Foundation COO Henrik Thomsen (left) and Danish Minister for Health Nick Hækkerup.

During the visit, a number of organisations were presented to the Royal couple, including Specialisterne Fundacja Polska, which fell under the Health category. Representatives from  the Polish Foundation as well as the Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) had the opportunity to present the concept and methods used within Specialisterne organisations around the globe. Continue reading

Shifting the Perception of People’s Abilities

Specialisterne Founder Thorkil Sonne

Specialisterne Founder and Chairman of the Board, Thorkil Sonne, was interviewed recently for Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) partner SAP’s new Diversity area on sap.com. In May 2013, we announced our partnership with SAP, the aim of which was to assist us in our to goal create one million jobs for people with autism. Less than a year later, SAP has rolled out pilots in locations in India and Ireland, hiring an initial group of people on the autism spectrum, and has plans to expand to other countries in the near future. Read the full interview with Thorkil Sonne, and read what SAP is doing in the area of Diversity and Inclusion.

Specialisterne Launches in Northern Ireland

Launching Specialisterne in Northen Ireland


From left to right: Dame Stephanie Shirley, Shirley Foundation and Autism Speaks, Peter Brabazon, General Manager, Specialisterne Ireland, Sharon Didrichsen, Manager, Specialisterne Northern Ireland, Minister Stephen Farry, Department of Employment and Learning.

Specialisterne has set up operations in Belfast, Northern Ireland with the aim of helping 50 people with autism there secure professional jobs in the IT sector within the next five years.

“’We are very excited about the opportunities for Specialisterne to showcase how people with autism can excel in the work place given the right understanding and accommodation,” said Specialisterne Founder and Chairman of the Board Thorkil Sonne. “Northern Ireland has welcomed our mission with strong support from key stakeholders and we are looking forward to working with a number of different partners to begin making a difference in the community.” Continue reading

Specialisterne Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

This week Specialisterne is celebrating its 10th anniversary

On the 2nd of February 2004, Thorkil Sonne founded Specialisterne in Denmark with a vision of enabling jobs for people with autism. Inspired by his young son Lars, who had been diagnosed with Infantile Autism, Thorkil established Specialisterne, and subsequently The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation), in an attempt to tailor a working environment geared towards people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, enabling them to use their specialist skills to act as consultants in the business sector.

“My vision back then was the same as it is now,” says Thorkil Sonne, Chairman of the Board for both Specialisterne Denmark and for The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation), and Director of Specialisterne USA. “To create meaningful job opportunities for people with autism and to change the way society perceives them.” Continue reading

Specialisterne USA and The Arc to Work Together on US Expansion of Specialisterne Model

Specialisterne and The Arc working on US expansion

As the World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, Specialisterne USA and The Arc announced a new agreement to help Specialisterne replicate its successful model of employing people with autism in the tech industry in the United States.  By utilizing The Arc’s strong network of chapters, Specialisterne USA and The Arc will expand the model to sites across the US with a goal of serving technology companies nationwide.

This is the second major partnership Specialisterne USA has secured in recent months, following last Autumn’s announcement of the partnership with with Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI). In addition, The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) entered into a partnership with technology company, SAP SE in 2013. All three agreements have the common goal to provide employment opportunities for people with autism as software testers, programmers, data quality assurance specialists and other technology positions.  Specialisterne USA , with operations in the Midwest, Mid Atlantic and Southwest regions of the US, and The Arc’s New York City chapter, AHRC New York City, began working to pilot replication of the Specialisterne model late last year in New York City.  Continue reading

Specialisterne Foundation in European Commission Knowledge-Sharing Initiative

HIPE-logoThe Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) is participating in a European Commission knowledge-sharing initiative entitled HIPE4ASD. The Help for Instant Professional Efficiency for Autism Spectrum Disorder is part of the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci Program, which funds practical projects in the field of vocational education and training. Initiatives range from those giving individuals work-related training abroad to large-scale co-operation efforts.

EU-lifelong-learning-programme-logoThe Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) is one of seven partners participating across the European region and, as part of the initiative, will be providing a training course on 28-29 January 2014 for professionals interested in learning more about working with people with an autism diagnosis, with specific focus on employment related aspects. This training course will take place at the IT University in Copenhagen, Denmark and include a wide range of topics on how to harness the skills and talents of people with ASD in the workplace. More details on this course is available on the training course website in Danish.

New Initiative to Create 1000 Jobs in Denmark for People with Autism

Launching 1000 Jobs in Denmark for People with Autism

The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) announced today that it is launching a new initiative, the goal of which is to create 1000 jobs in Denmark for people with autism and similar challenges. The initiative entitled ”1000 Jobs in Denmark” will be funded over the next 30 months by a donation of almost DKK 5.4 million from the VELUX FOUNDATIONS. The VELUX FOUNDATIONS are non-profit foundations created by Villum Kann Rasmussen, the founder of VELUX and other companies in the VKR Group.

This initiative will be driven by the Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) through partnerships with the corporate sector, public institutions and other stakeholders in the labor market. The ultimate goal – together with the creation of 1000 jobs – is to change existing attitudes among Danish employers towards hiring people with autism, and to generate interest among employers in placing people with autism into meaningful jobs where their unique competencies, such as attention to detail, strong logical and analytic skills, an above-average ability to concentrate for long periods of time, diligence and zero-fault tolerance, can create maximum value. Continue reading

Specialisterne Launches in Canada

Specialisterne Launching in Canada

TORONTO, November 5th, 2013 –Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) announced today that it has launched Specialisterne operations in Canada. Specialisterne Canada Inc., with headquarters in Toronto and offices in Vancouver and Quebec City, is teaming up with government, community and corporate partners to provide people on the autism spectrum with the opportunity to obtain meaningful and sustained employment.

“There is so much opportunity for us in Canada to create meaningful and productive jobs for the growing number of people diagnosed with autism,” says Thorkil Sonne, Founder of Specialisterne. “There is clearly a readiness and excitement here and we are confident that the combination of our operational experience from 11 countries, and a very strong and dedicated team in Canada, will bring about the sort of change that will benefit all stakeholders.” Continue reading