The ICare4Autism International Autism Conference focused on several important topics facing individuals with autism, with a major focus on the autism workforce movement. ICare4Autism’s Global Autism Workforce Initiatives were supported by several incredible presentations that discussed the need for work programs that incorporate autistic individuals, as well as presentations from representatives of businesses that are already making strides to successfully employ autistic adults.
Michele Shapiro, Project Manager for AHRC, Konstantin Zobrovsky, AHRC Employment Specialist, and Mark Grein, Executive Director of Specialisterne-USA, gave presentations on two different days of the conference to discuss a business collaboration that is currently providing opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum. AHRC-NYC serves over 15,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities in the five boroughs, and Specialisterne strives to be an example of how individuals with ASD can provide valuable and high quality service in an employed position. In November of last year, AHRC and Specialisterne launched a cohort that would help demonstrate the strengths of individuals with ASD. Together, they are currently training and enabling employment for 50 individuals on the spectrum, and are working to establish additional opportunities.
Specialisterne and AHRC are focused on enabling more individuals with ASD to participate in working roles, while also expanding their career path options. This partnership aims to reduce the societal costs of ASD, as well as create collaborations among more employers and stakeholders. Specialisterne and AHRC follow a Dandelion Management Model, which views individuals as being unique and having individual strengths. They help enable managers to lead diverse teams and recognize the competitive advantage of employing individuals on the spectrum. Many individuals with autism have various skills that can give companies a competitive edge, such as a detailed focus, an endurance for repetitive tasks, or an ability to spot deviations in data. As a result, they have the potential to be successfully employed in data analysis, media editing, or medical coding.
AHRC and Specialisterne are exceptional leaders in providing opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum. ICare4Autism thanks Ms. Shapiro, Mr. Zobrovsky, and Mr. Grein for their initiatives in the autism workforce movement, and for providing inspiration to create more inclusive opportunities for autistic individuals in the workplace and in our communities.