Talent in an unlikely place

Whenever cell phone makers introduce a new product, the only way to catch potential malfunctions is to load the software onto the phone and follow a lengthy script of at least 200 instructions, punching keys over and over again. The average person would get bored and take shortcuts, which leaves room for error and makes the task essentially worthless. This task involves obsessive attention to detail, intense focus and careful execution, which are skills innate to an adult with high-functioning autism.

When Thorkil Sonne’s son was diagnosed with autism, he and his wife saw a bleak future where they would be dependent upon forever. But it wasn’t until Sonne looked past his son’s disability and saw that he possessed some unusually fascinating skills – traits that he often looked for in his own employees at TDC, Denmark’s largest telecommunications company.

He realized that many companies struggle to find people who can perform specific tedious tasks like data entry or software testing and that given the right environment, an adult with autism could be the best person for these jobs.  So he started a company called Specialisterne which helps to identify marketable strengths in those who have difficulty communicating it themselves.

After a successful decade employing 35 workers with autism in Denmark, they are opening a United States headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware where they plan to recruit and train autistic adults to be software testers. They are even having conversations with Microsoft about setting up a pilot program in Fargo, North Dakota where their largest software-development operations are located. Click here to learn more about Specialisterne, how it is benefiting adults with autism, and helping major companies fill their hiring needs.


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