Congrats SAP, HPE, Giovani, Conner, Robert, Harkin and Humanity

Today is United Nations Human Rights Day.

I am humbled through Specialisterne Foundation to be associated with the UN and be a small gear in the giant machinery of humanity.

Today is a day to celebrate business giants SAP and HPE for their contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: Promote Sustained, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All.

I was proud to be sharing the SDG 8 panel at the UN World Autism Awareness Day April 2nd this year with Jose Velasco, SAP, and Michael Fieldhouse, HPE. Together we announced a collaboration sponsored by Bill McDermott, CEO SAP, and Meg Whitman, CEO HPE, to remove some of the barriers to employment and create greater inclusion and acceptance for autistic people.

The collaboration has shown the world that employment of autistic people is the right thing to do for your business and that autistic people has a natural role to play in the labor market.

On this UN Human Rights Day, we should celebrate the story of Giovani, SAP, who was diagnosed as autistic late in life. And we should celebrate the stories of Conner and Robert, HPE, who were diagnosed as autistic while young.

Giovani, Conner and Roberts are true role models for autistic people with or without diagnosis and for employers who have not yet opened their eyes for the Autism Advantage.

Another true role model is Senator Harkin. I had the privilege to participate in the Harkin Summit where thought leaders from 31 countries were invited to share knowledge, inspire and connect with the purpose to promote disability inclusion in the global work force. We were all energized and committed to advance individual and joined efforts for a world with equal opportunities for all in the labor market.

Congratulations SAP and HPE for your business leadership.

Congratulations Giovani, Conner and Robert for your role model leadership.

Congratulations Senator Harkin for being a connector and role model for the global community.

Congratulations Humanity for governments, business leaders, foundations and grass roots organizations and individuals promoting Human Rights every day somewhere in the world.

Specialisterne is seeking funding for research to identify and remove barriers in the education system and labor market to ensure that one million autistic people in all communities and countries will get a fair opportunity to realize their potential in the labor market.

Thorkil Sonne

Founder, Specialisterne Foundation

CEO, Specialisterne USA

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.

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Blog post from Thorkil Sonne: Bigger than we are

Bigger than we are

My youngest son made me a social entrepreneur when he was diagnosed with autism. I realized that when it comes to developing and utilizing the talents of autistic people – we have a broken system. Approximately 1% of the world’s population may be autistic and face an un/underemployment rate of up to 80%.

The more I got to know my son, the more I appreciated that he was different, not less, and it was clear to us as his parents, that he deserved the same chance to realize his potential as his older brothers.

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