Autism in the Global Workforce

ICare4Autism will have the first day of its 2014 International Autism Conference dedicated to developing and promoting national and global Autism Workforce programs. Harley Lippman, founder and CEO of Genesis10, is our Workforce Chairman. The committee will help to oversee and promote our own initiatives, which you can read about here.

As part of our push for an inclusive workforce, we were glad to hear that just today, SAP, a world leader in enterprise software and software related services with locations in over 130 countries, announced that it would be collaborating with the University of Cambridge in a five year agreement to create a new internship program to promote its “Autism at Work” initiative. “Autism at Work” is the company’s own global initiative to employ people with autism. This announcement came after they recently employed its first group of people with autism, right here in two of their U.S offices.

The internship focuses on autistic students with skills and a strong interest in software and programming and gives placement to these students in one of five SAP locations, US, Indian, Canada, Ireland, or Germany. The goal is that they will move on to become SAP employees at the conclusion of their internship and become an important part of their company.

SAP will be working specifically with Professor Simon-Baron Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Center in Cambridge as well as an Advisory Council Member of ICare4Autism. He will be responsible for the outlining and developing the specifics of the internship that will make the transition a smooth process for the new autistic interns.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, says, “SAP is setting a terrific example, showing that a multinational IT company not only positively welcomes applicants with autism of Asperger Syndrome, but believes that there is a strong business case for employing them, because of their special talents.”

ICare4Autism is attempting to bring about more global initiatives like SAP’s internship that can be implemented on a national level. Our keynote speaker for Day 1, Randy Lewis, Former Walgreens Executive Vice President, will be talking about how Walgreens was the first company of their kind back in 2007 to employ a significant number of people with disabilities. More that 40% of their South Carolina distribution center have a physical or cognitive disability with similar numbers in their Connecticut center, opened in 2009. These employees work side by side with other team members all of whom have the same goals and equal pay. There are on-site training facilities that help those with special needs feel prepared for their job and daily tasks. “We’ve worked technology and creativity into every inch of this place, but it’s the people here who amaze you,” Randy Lewis explains.

These changes in the workforce globally and at home will ultimately open up doors for not only young adults, but also the younger generations that we care for here at Shema Kolainu, giving them a better chance at a brighter future.

For more information on the upcoming 2014 conference, click here

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Autistic child found to have amazing art ability

Autistic child found to have amazing art ability

Autistic child found to have amazing art ability

An 8th grade student at Gardner Academy in Lansing has been discovered through his artwork. But what makes this artwork exceptionally special is that this student has been diagnosed with autism. Alex Torres, 14, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 2½ years old. His disordered limits his ability to verbally communicate with others.

After being diagnosed Alex’s mom started to buy him Play-Doh because it offers a sensory experience, which is often recommended for kids on the autism spectrum. After noticing that the Play-Doh animals would dry out and become brittle, she then switched to buying modeling compound. Alex has a dozens of colorful, tiny figures covering the surface of a table in Alex’s basement work area. Among these tiny figures is a cat eating nachos, a plate of spaghetti, a pair of dogs relaxing at a picnic complete with a high-stacked hamburger, hot dog, a Coke and tiny Oreo cookies.

Alex is among a worldwide group of young artist whose work was on display during November in Washington D.C. as part of the VSA International Art Program for Children with Disabilities. Alex was honored for his family portrait, including pets at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. He has been attending classes off and on at REACH Studio Art Center on South Washington Avenue. His teacher at REACH, Mila Theroux, states “He’s got something that is coming from inside of him that’s amazing.”

Alex’s artwork includes drawings in pencil, marker and crayon, paintings and hundreds of tiny sculptures. Alex also has taken classes in using a potter’s wheel and making sculptures from clay that can be fired. His parents, Angelina Torres and Carlos Ortiz, dream that his art will eventually help him become self-supporting.

For more information on Arts and Autism please follow the link here:

2012 Conferences

January 27-29, 2012 – Association for Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI) – 2012 Autism Conference – Philadelphia, PA

February 22 – 25, 2012 – Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) 49th Annual International Conference – Chicago, IL

February 28-29, 2012 National Autistic Society – in Manchester, UK – Program schedule  for 2012 conference will be available in September 2011 Continue reading