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.

un_dupontEarlier this week, I attended the DuPont celebration of the UN International Day of Persons with Disability. Via a webinar we had participants from Mexico, India, Thailand, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, England, China, Germany, Hungary, Brazil, France & multiple U.S. locations. We heard an impressive row of testimonies of how DuPont accommodates people with disabilities.

DuPont believes that the corporate vision can only be achieved with the full commitment, participation, creativity, energy and cooperative spirit of a diverse workforce.

“Never underestimate what one person can do through words and actions” I learned from Patti, an employee at DuPont.

Guest speaker was Ernie Dianastasis, founder of The Precisionists Inc. Ernie has made it his goal in life to create 10,000 jobs for people with disabilities. A large number of the jobs will be for autistic people in partnership with Specialisterne.

I was honored to be at the event at DuPont, one of the first U.S. signatories to the UN Global Compact and I was impressed and encouraged by the dedication of DuPont and The Precisionists to create an inclusive corporate environment for people with disabilities.

“Let us work together for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in an inclusive and sustainable world that embraces humanity in all its diversity,” is this year’s message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

That message resonates with what I learned at the event at DuPont and with Specialisterne’s vision of a world with equal opportunities for all in the labor market.

Our focus is to enable meaningful careers where autistic people can realize that they matter and have something to contribute to the world.

We can only reach the goal through engaging in partnerships, research to identify barriers to career development and development to reduce the barriers.

I want to see more autistic people have the confidence, courage and ability to stand up for themselves and I want to see 100,000 excel in a job that matches their potential.

I invite you to help us scale life altering opportunities by your contributions.

Thorkil Sonne, Founder