ANNUAL REPORT 2019
SYSTEMS CHANGE: SCALING OUR IMPACT FURTHER We started the new year by reflecting on our eventful autumn and on opportunities to grow our impact globally in 2020. Our ambition is to trigger a systemic shift where labour markets are transformed to be truly inclusive. To ensure that autistic and neurodivergent persons (autism, ADHD, OCD, dyslexia etc.) are empowered as significant contributors of society, we know that education systems and schools should also be transformed to foster the skills of children on the spectrum from early ages. Creating systems change alone is not possible. Therefore, in 2020, we will continue working tirelessly with key stakeholders, such as employers, NGOs, United Nations, families, self-advocates, educators and governments across the globe. With two new colleagues having joined our team in 2019, we are more ambitious than ever to reach out to communities globally, share our knowledge and turn hope into action for many individuals, who have not been given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in an inclusive work environment. As an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, we will continue arranging Autism Advantage Luncheons in 2020 to promote the United Nations' Call to Action on employment of autistic persons across the world. Thorkil Sonne Founder and Chairman of the Board
LEARNING AND INCLUSION THROUGH PLAY: RE-THINKING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM Specialisterne Foundation and LEGO Foundation went into a partnership to create inclusion models for autistic and neurodivergent students in mainstream classroom settings. The purpose of the project is to enable autistic and neurodivergent students to develop talent and work readiness in preparation for active participation in further education and the labour market. Supported by specifically trained teachers and parents as well as technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics, we are bringing our experience on how to create environments, where all students, including autistic and neurodivergent students can excel into the school system.
OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
YET EVEN WHERE AWARENESS IS HIGH, MORE THAN 80 PER CENT
Our aim is to showcase the talents of autistic persons and to encourage companies to utilize their skills. Globally, we are encouraging different stakeholders to partner and create inclusive work
OF ADULTS WITH AUTISM ARE UNEMPLOYED. THAT
environments while expanding the scope to include neurodivergent persons (autism, ADHD, OCD,
IS WHY IT IS SO
dyslexia etc.) - with or without diagnosis.
Being an NGO associated with United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC), we are committed to promote of Sustainable Development Goals - in particular SDG 8 Decent
COMPANIES TO UNDERSTAND THEIR
Work and Economic Growth, target 5 'By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and
UNIQUE AND OFTEN
decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and
equal pay for work of equal value'.
AND TO ENABLE WORK
With the encouragement from UN DGC, we are arranging Autism Advantage Luncheons around the world. These luncheons serve as leadership forums for a discussion on the theme of 'The Autism Advantage'. The purpose of the luncheons is to promote employment of autistic persons globally, in support of Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on work and employment, which recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible.
ENVIRONMENTS WHERE THEY CAN EXCEL. BAN KI-MOON FORMER SECRETARY-GENERAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY EVENT 2015 AT UNITED NATIONS HQ NEW YORK, CO-ARRANGED BY SPECIALISTERNE FOUNDATION
AUTISM ADVANTAGE LUNCHEONS: REGIONAL LEADERSHIP FORUMS IN INDIA & INDONESIA Specialisterne Foundation organized Autism Advantage Luncheon India in Bangalore on 19.11.2019 (in collaboration with SAP Labs India and with the financial support of Brunel and SAP) and Autism Advantage Luncheon Indonesia in Jakarta on 04.12.2019 (in collaboration with Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia and with the financial support of Brunel). Luncheons brought together: 200+ participants traveling from various regions of India (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Karnataka, Bangalore) & Indonesia, Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore, USA and China. Self-advocates, parents, educators, teachers, practitioners, government representatives, companies, business associations, NGOs, academicians and United Nations representatives.
INDIA FEARS AUTISM AND BELIEVE THEY REQUIRE GREATER EFFORT AND RESOURCES. WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE AT THE LUNCHEON IS THAT AUTISM DOES NOT REQUIRE MORE RESOURCES BUT THE WILLINGNESS AND LOVE TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP. VINEET SARAIWALA INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION, CONFEDERATION OF INDIAN INDUSTRIES, INDIAN BUSINESS DISABILITY NETWORK AND FUTURE GROUP & KEYNOTE SPEAKER AUTISM ADVANTAGE LUNCHEON INDIA
Interest to both Autism Advantage Luncheons were extraordinary. Speakers representing key stakeholders brought in their perspectives about the opportunities and challenges for education and employment of autistic persons in respective countries. Some of the key takeaways from the events were:
Speakers noted the challenges autistic and neurodivergent persons face both in India and Indonesia in terms of access to education and employment. Main drivers of these challenges were addressed as lack of awareness as well as cultural and social stigma towards persons with disabilities - which is especially a major problem across rural areas of the countries. Improving training opportunities and introducing best practices is particularly important for parents and schools. All children need to be included and supported early on - which is a crucial step in creating employment opportunities once they leave the school system. The participants were in agreement with the messages of Prof. Robert Austin of Ivey Business School that the autism advantage is real. The number of selfadvocates participated in the luncheon who carry out meaningful and productive jobs was a proof of concept. We have just launched a website dedicated to Autism Advantage Luncheons, where you can read more and participate in a global insights survey. Take a look: https://www.autismadvantageluncheon.com
"Disability is part of diversity. Whoever you are and regardless your circumstances, you are one with Indonesia." MUHAMMAD FARHAN
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA & KEYNOTE SPEAKER AUTISM ADVANTAGE LUNCHEON INDONESIA 2019
I HAVE CHOSEN SPECIALISTERNE BECAUSE IT IS A COMPANY THAT HAS TRUSTED MY POTENTIAL, HAS HELPED ME IMPROVE EVERYTHING THAT WAS NOT GOING SO WELL AND ALLOWED ME TO PROVE THAT I CAN REALLY BE USEFUL. SPECIALISTERNE HAS BEEN AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO START OVER. JAVI CALLEJA CONSULTANT, SPECIALISTERNE SPAIN
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: 2019'S FOCUS WAS INCLUSION
As an awarded Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur, Thorkil Sonne has taken an active part in the World Economic Summits in Dalian/Tianjin, China, and in Davos, Switzerland in 2019 and in previous years. In 2019, The World Economic Forum (WEF) has stated that inclusion would be the main topic of interest during the annual meeting. Thorkil and Specialisterne Foundation are working with the WEF community to promote inclusive growth and harvest the multi-stakeholder benefits of inclusive diverse workforces. As a part of the WEF Annual Meeting in 2019, Thorkil wrote an article titled 'Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource?' and told about global the movement he started, which lead to the generation of more than 10,000 jobs to date. WEF also produced and published a video highlighting Thorkil's story and Specialisterne in 2019 with the caption of 'an inclusive workforce is a better workforce'. The video was received very well and only within a week after being aired, it was watched by over half a million people.
"WORKINGTHROUGH": A PROJECT FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION WORKINGTHROUGH project offers a high-quality learning opportunity through the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in combination with social scripts to train autistic individuals in “soft” skills (interpersonal intelligence, communication) in increasingly challenging work environments. Main objective of the project is to design and develop an innovative curriculum and the corresponding certified materials and assessment methods. As a part of this European Union funded project, Specialisterne Foundation works with partners from Ireland, Greece and Cyprus. The curriculum is being codeveloped with contributions from all the partners and the prototype will be tested in English, Greek and Danish in each country. The project ends by September 2020 with a conference in Denmark; thereafter the prototype curriculum will be made available for general use.
THORKIL SONNE FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
SPECIALISTERNE: STORIES OF SUCCESS ACROSS 12 COUNTRIES The international network of Specialisterne chapters in 12 countries (Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Singapore, Spain, USA) and the incredible work they are carrying out are all based on the same socially innovative business model - what we call 'dandelion philosophy'. A dandelion is only a weed in an environment where it is not welcomed. If the plant is transferred to an environment where it is welcomed, valued and nurtured â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it turns into an herb with numerous medicinal and nutritional values. Autistic persons often struggle to feel welcome in the labor market despite having much sought after skills such as attention to detail, loyalty or an outstanding memory to name a few. Specialisterne chapters around the world strive to create an environment where each individual can thrive in workplace and provide support both for the individual and the employer to maintain this comfort zone. Read more about the local projects and initiatives on Specialisterne country websites.
HENRIK THOMSEN DIRECTOR & COO
JOIN THE MOVEMENT Visit the Autism Advantage Luncheon website we recently launched. Learn more about 'the autism advantage', previous luncheons we hosted and make your voice heard by participating in global insights survey. Partner with Specialisterne Foundation. Become a part of our global network and work alongside passionate thought leaders who drive large-scale social impact in their communities and globally. We always welcome partnerships with like minded businesses who are keen to support our efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 8 in particular.
STEEN LOHSE HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS THORKIL SONNE WILLIAM E. HOOVER LARS HENRIKSEN RAMON BERNAT HENRIETTE FENGER ELLEKROG ISABELLA ARENDT
EZGI DAHLBERG PROJECT COORDINATOR
LautruphĂ¸j 1-3 2750 Ballerup/Denmark
www.specialisternefoundation.com www.autismadvantageluncheon.com email@example.com