In my career as a substitute teacher, I’ve worked with many special-needs students. So I’m always interested in positive stories about people with special needs. Like this one —
In 2007, German businessman Dirk Müller-Remus learned one of his children had autism at the age of 14. As he adjusted to this knowledge, he visited a self-help group entitled “Autism and Work,” and listened to presentations from 20 autistic people between the ages of 25 and 50; all were educated, all were unemployed. This is not unusual — over 85% of all autistic people in Germany are unemployed despite having formidable cognitive skills. So Dirk Müller-Remus founded Auticon, a company that specializes in hiring the autistic.
Auticon has become an international IT service provider in the fields of business analytics, test automation and software development. The company assigns project teams of autistic and non-autistic employees as consultants to its clients to provide new problem-solving perspectives. Both the consultants and clients are supported by trained job coaches and project managers. Clients include Siemens and Allianz.
The company operates 14 offices in seven countries, employing over 200 people, of which about 150 are autistic. The U.S. connection is through the acquisition of a similar Los Angeles-based company called MindSpark, which had been founded by Gray Benoist who has two autistic sons.
We have many people around us with unique skills. All we have to do is discover how to use them. Actually, we can’t afford not to.
Auticon’s U.S. website is https://auticon.us/. The photo is a header from that site.