International Specialisterne Community

Specialisterne Foundation

Specialisterne Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation with the goal to generate meaningful employment for one million autistic/neurodivergent persons through social entrepreneurship, corporate sector engagement and a global change in mindset.



Specialisterne with SAP and HP in the UN

Apr 2, 2016

Commemorating April, 2, the Word Autism Awareness Day, the UN promoted an event called Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity, in which Specialisterne took part.

In the event several objectives that aim for the improvement of people with ASD life conditions, were discussed. The objectives are part of the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 signed in September, 2015, that envisions a future where no one will be excluded.

Among the seventeen main objectives, applicable to the whole population, five are particularly suitable to people with ASD: “4) Quality Education; 8) Decent work and economic growth; 10) Reduced Inequalities; 11) Sustainable cities and communities; and 17) Partnerships for the goals.”

Jobs for people with ASD


“Working” was the main point in which Specialisterne participated as well as two major companies in the IT sector, SAP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The three had already participated in the UN event in 2015 and, in that occasion, talked about their experiences and results involving the inclusion programs for people with ASD. In the SAP case, there are more than 100 people with ASD working. In HP, with an initial program in Australia, there are 37 individuals with ASD hired.

Both Jose Velasco (SAP) and Michael Fieldhouse (HPE) have been pointing out the success of the inclusion programs, not just due to the performance of the workers, but also due to their length of stay in the companies. They also highlight what the workers add in results by bringing different talents, besides inspiring new innovations developed on a daily basis by such companies.

In SAP, these employees already work in 18 different roles inside the company and the objective is to have 1% of the workforce (now consisting of 77,000) of people with ASD. Jose Velasco talked about the involvement and commitment of the company directors and other people in the organization.

HPE intends to extend in short term the initial tasks – software testing, data analysis, IT operations – with a team of ten more dedicated to computer security, and also by collaborating with formation and academic research.

Collaboration between Specialisterne, SAP and HPE

The three participants also explained their recent deal to collaborate in the inclusion of people with ASD, centered in 5 areas:

  1. Creation of information assets that will help raise awareness of the value ofNeurodiversity in the workplace.
  2. Collaborate in the creation of cross-company common training curriculums to hireand retain autistic people.
  3. Exchange experiences in the areas of sourcing, training, hiring, work experienceprograms and retaining individuals in the autism spectrum.
  4. Investigate other barriers for employment of autistic people such as industryaccreditation courses.
  5. Participate in information sharing sessions at the World Economic Forum, Davos,UN events and at an annual summit for employers, governments and community groups.

The agreement aims for the progressive improvement of inclusion techniques and the sharing with interested parties through Specialisterne.

Thorkil Sonne, founder of Specialisterne, said that agreements like this one keep the process going which started 12 years ago to help with the creation of one million jobs for people with ASD.  Including employees in Specialisterne, partners or companies inspired by the model, we estimate that more than one thousand jobs have already been created.

Message from Ban Ki-Moon

The UN Secretary-General, on the occasion of the event, emphasized that the participation of people with ASD is fundamental to create the inclusive society we aspire, and asked for larger investments to allow young people with ASD to take part in this historic movement in favor of the progress of mankind.

Search the WAAD site about the Word Autism Awareness Day or watch the whole WAAD event.

Specialisterne’s participation starts at 01:20:30.