Autism Advantage Luncheon 2018

2018 Autism Advantage Luncheon

The 2018 Autism Advantage Luncheon event is organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information, in collaboration with Specialisterne Foundation. It is co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland, and organized with the support of CognoaGoogleJPMChaseMicrosoftStandard Chartered Bank and Tatiana Copeland.

Thank you to the United Nations and our sponsors.  The event was a resounding success.  If you couldn’t be there, you can Watch the video of the 2018 Autism Advantage Luncheon here.  Or you can follow the link to watch the slide show of the event.

Programme and speakers

1:15 pm Opening

  • Welcome and introduction to Autism Advantage Luncheon 2018 theme: Employment Return on Investment: Jeff Brez, Chief NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events, UN Department of Public Information
  • Women and Girls with Autism (WAAD 2018 theme): Mrs. Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Public Information

1: 25 pm Perspectives

  • Government Return on Investment (ROI): Steve Wooderson, CEO, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Autism Advantage Community ROI: David Caudel, ED, Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism Innovation and the Workforce
  • Autism Advantage ROI, leadership perspective: Mark Vandenbosch, Dean, Ivey Business School
  • Doubling Employment of People with Disabilities ROI: Senator Harkin (video)
  • Autism Advantage Exponential Growth ROI: Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialisterne

1:45 – 1: 55 pm Key Note

  • Looking past Limits in the Board Room: Caroline Casey, Founder, #Valuable

2:40 pm Wrap Up and looking forward to Autism Advantage Luncheon 2019: Jeff Brez

Specialisterne launches in Singapore to enable employment for autistic people

Singapore operation is latest in worldwide expansion of successful and award-winning international social enterprise

SINGAPORE, November 30th, 2017 – Specialisterne, an internationally recognized leader in harnessing the talents of autistic people, launched today in Singapore.  Specialisterne Singapore is teaming up with employers, government, community and partners to provide people on the autism spectrum  an under-utilized human resource  with the opportunity to obtain meaningful and sustained employment.

Specialisterne Singapore officially launched today 30 November 2017 with a visit from the Spouse of the Danish Prime Minister.

Read the full press release from the event: Specialisterne Singapore launch

Why Some Companies Are Trying to Hire More People on the Autism Spectrum

“The majority of those with autism are unemployed, but new pilot programs at big companies, such as EY and Microsoft, are discovering unexpected benefits from having “neurodiverse” colleagues.”

“But Austin says that ultimately these programs have to make sense for the company’s bottom line.The pilot programs — which companies go into with little expectation — have been producing good results in terms of finding new talent and productivity gains. “Ultimately, it’s not a charity thing because it’s providing far more benefit than it’s costing. Every company I know that’s gone into this in a serious way has gone into it with the idea that this is going to be net benefit positive,” he says.”

Read the whole article: Why Some Companies Are Trying to Hire More People on the Autism Spectrum

UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities

“After class at the university I stood up to a bully”, my son told me yesterday. After he had entertained and impressed his co-students by listing all states and all state capitals, a situation unfolded where a student was bullied.

“I wish someone had stood up, when I was being bullied at school years ago” he told me.

My son is autistic, the bully was not. Who is the disabled person?

Yesterday, taking a stand for the victim, my son turned the tables. I am so proud.

Look up “disability” in the dictionary and you will find words like: incapacity, impairment, defect… In autistic employees at companies like SAP and HPE I see: honesty, skills and resilience. I also see vulnerabilities that we as a society have to manage in order for autistic people to excel. This is not just a responsibility for employers, but for parents, the education system and the government.

Continue reading

Autistic employees can give companies an edge in innovative thinking

The Guardian article on Specialisterne

“More companies are ditching the stereotypes of Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man and Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and realising the benefits of employing people on the autism spectrum”. The benefits of hiring people with autism include: high attention to detail, high work ethic and quality of work.

The focus have been on the IT sector, where many large companies have benefited from hiring people with autism. However, the competencies of people with autism is not limited to the IT sector. Like everybody else, they have different interests and skills. Specialisterne Australia has recently launched “the Autism and Agriculture employment scheme to develop career paths for those with autism in specialist animal care roles”. Specialisterne Foundation and Specialisterne are always looking into other industries for employment opportunities for people with autism.

Autistic employees can give companies an edge in innovative thinking

How and why we should ‘learn directly from disabled people’

Learning Directly from disabled people

“Learning Directly from disabled people” was recently published by bdi. Specialisterne Foundation is a strategic partner to bdi and is proud to share the publication.

The publication is divided in three parts, it will:

“1. Help senior global business leaders understand why learning directly from disabled people is essential, and the business performance imperative

2. Give practical advice on how an organisation can create the framework to learn directly from disabled people as a matter of routine

3. Inspire colleagues with case studies from organisations that have benefited directly from the knowledge and experiences of disabled people”

You can download the publication directly on bdi’s website and receive information about future publications.

THIS WORKS Summit

THIS WORKS Summit – Scaling Solutions for Employment and Recovery in Southern Europe

In June this year, Ashoka hosted a one day event “THIS WORKS Summit” in Brussels.

The purpose of the summit, was to show 10 examples of proven social innovations to inspire and scale new solutions across Europe, with a special focus on the recovery of Southern Europe.

Read more about the event on This Works’ website This Works Summit.

1:25 minutes into the video, Specialisterne Foundation’s director (former Specialist People Foundation), Henrik, sums up who Specialisterne is and the need for employment in Europe, in just over a minute.

Putting people with disabilities to work in Delaware

A new exciting collaboration

Specialisterne USA and The Precisionists is working together to enable jobs for people with disabilities.

Ernie Dianastasis, a now former executive in one of the largest tech companies in Delaware, CAI, is putting his life savings at risk by launching The Precisionists. The new company’s workforce will largely be made up of people with disabilities – a class of worker largely ignored by corporate America. Nearly 57 million Americans – 20 percent of the U.S. population – live with some form of physical or mental disability, including about 112,000 Delawareans. Yet the national unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities was 11.7 percent in 2015 – more than double the rate for the non-disabled.

Read more about The Precisionists and the background in The News Journal’s article Putting people with disabilities to work in Delaware.

Are we at the beginning of a bigger movement in diversity? Find the answer in this Forbes article

Are we at the beginning of a bigger movement in diversity? Find the answer in this Forbes article The Benefits Of Recruiting Employees With Autism Spectrum Disorder

We are experiencing a new frontier in diversity programmes. Neurodiversity is a different way of thinking diversity and is slowly changing the way companies think of Human Resources.

Specialisterne Foundation

We are pleased to announce, that we have now finalised our name change in the foundation. From today and forward, our name is Specialisterne Foundation.
We want to emphasise the strong link between the foundation’s work and our local Specialisterne units across the world. We are all working towards the same goal – enabling jobs for people with autism and creating a more inclusive labour market.

We hope that our new name will create less confusion and a closer link to the work we and the different Specialisterne units do.