Specialisterne's model has been developed in Denmark for the last 6 years. The model includes knowledge and experience assessment and training of people with ASD that today stand outside the labour market. Through a job assessment procedure including different tools, education and internship. Specialisterne are able to identify and strengthen a person’s analytical skills and competence within structural problem solving as well as social skills.
The assessment results in a “job profile” that identifies the kind of work that the person would be suited for and will support the individual to find his/her right place in the labour market. The assessment and training services are an important basis for recruitment of CONSULTANTS which is the part where the trained ASD people are hired out to IT companies.
The job enabling part of the model where “CONSULTANTS” (the trained ASD People) carry out assignments for a third party organization is in many ways following the business principles of any consulting business. Some of the major challenges are the need of support and handling that the CONSULTANTS require in their working environment and their inability to work full time. The particular condition of the CONSULTANTS and the complexities of their lives outside work require a support system, pedagogic knowledge and an understanding of autism. These two parts of the model (assessment and job profile) together with a leadership model that creates the balance to build a workplace that supports employees with and without ASD is the fundament for the knowledge transferring package.
The ASD society in Iceland and other partner countries has for a long time been looking for an improvement in the general environment for its clients. There has been some improvement in the primary and secondary educational sectors but very little has happened in work related matters for this group.
In 2005 we first heard about a unique company in Denmark where people with ASD were taken in for assessment and training. After that they were able to go out and work in relatively well paid “normal” jobs. We followed the progress of the company for the next three years and then at the beginning of the year 2009 we established contact with Thorkil Sonne, the founder of Specialisterne Denmark.
We soon realized that this was something special and the Autistic society in Iceland formed a work group to explore the potential of setting up a similar system here in Iceland. Soon after that other countries became interested and late 2009 we established further contacts with both Scotland and Germany. A formal cooperation between Specialisterne in Denmark, Iceland, UK and Germany was then established.
All these partners share the same opinion that this is a unique opportunity to replicate and transfer this system of assessing, training and integrating into our respective communities. It offers a before unknown possibilities to people with ASD to become fully functional part of their work environment. This has proven to greatly enhance their self esteem and generally improving their quality of life.
The results will be gradually put into action during the progress of the program. First of all our researchers and trainers will go to Specialisterne in Denmark to learn and be trained in the working processes of the company. At the same time related manuals and materials will be translated into respective languages. Coming back to their countries, these people will start training the staff that will be working in the companies, training the people with ASD to make them CONSULTANTS. After that phase then the first ASD CANDIDATES will be taken in for assessment and training. The next step will be to prepare our customers for our CONSULTANTS and then start integrating our CONSULTANTS into our customers companies. We plan to take 30 – 40 people from our target group through this procedure before the end of this program.
As more people in more countries get to know the Specialisterne method then the overall value of the project increases. New partners offer new ideas in improving the project. Furthermore we see as long term added value to transfer this know-how and ideology over to other sectors of disability.
Last but not least we see great added value to our target group as people with ASD will be able to improve their possibilities to work in projects based on their special skills and thus building on their strengths rather than weaknesses. This should greatly add to their quality of life and build up their self esteem and general wellness.