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.”
Specialisterne has come a long way since its foundation in 2004, and is now recognized in Denmark and abroad as one of the foremost experts in the field of assessment, training, education of people with autism and similar challenges, and in providing specialist consultant services in the fields of digitization, testing, quality assurance and operations. Now established in 12 countries around the globe, Specialisterne is a truly socially innovative organization, and unique in its approach to harnessing the particular capabilities and talents of people with autism. Specialisterne has also inspired a number of companies and organizations around the world, and entered into a number of key strategic partnerships with organizations such as SAP, CAI and The ARC – united in a common goal to help people with autism secure meaningful employment.
“I am so proud of what we have achieved over the past 10 years,” says Sonne. “But I feel that this is really only the beginning. My hope for the next 10 years is that Specialisterne will have some kind of presence and effect in almost every country in the world and, not least, that we will have achieved our goal to enable one million jobs for people with autism.”