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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
December 2012

Danish Company Shares Benefits of Hiring Individuals with ASD

In a recent article by Gareth Cook of The New York Times (November 29, 2012), it appears that more and more businesses are beginning to see the benefits of hiring individuals with ASD. Cook discusses Thorkil Sonne’s new business venture, Specialisterne. Sonne is not only a business owner, but also a parent to a child with ASD. As Sonne observed his son’s unique strengths and abilities over the years, he discovered a vast array of skills including focus and attention to detail that he, as a former technical director at a telecommunications company, could use in the field. Specialisterne, the Danish word for ‘the specialists,’ is a consultative-based company that employs high functioning workers with ASD, workers that often excel at tedious tasks. While the model does not work well with everyone, it does provide a market niche for some individuals with ASD. In fact, Specialisterne has become so popular that Sonne and his family are planning a move to the United States in order to expand. Sonne believes that more employers should consider hiring those with ASD in certain jobs given their unique abilities and considers his venture as the dandelion model. Sonne believes that dandelions can be seen as weeds in our yards or as spring greens in our salads. He was quoted as saying, “Every one of us has the power to decide, do we want to see a weed, or do we see an herb?”

For more information and to read this article, click here.

 

DSM-V Changes Approved

According to Psychiatric News (December 1, 2012), the APA’s Board of Trustees have approved the DSM-V changes, including changes to the criteria and definition of Autism. Previously, the DSM-IV used the term Autistic Disorder. This has been replaced with the term Autism Spectrum Disorder. Other changes include the greatly contested removal of the term Asperger’s Syndrome and incorporating it into the broader diagnostic label, Autism Spectrum Disorder. The DSM routinely evolves as science and research improve our understanding of such disorders, including ASD. The updated DSM-V will be published in May 2013. For more information, please click here.

 

U.S. House of Representatives Holds Hearing on Rise of Autism Rates in U.S.

On 11/29/2012, the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the rise in autism rates for the United States. In the first panel, Colleen Boyle, Director of the CDC—Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and Alan Guttmacher, Director of the National Institutes of Health - Child and Human Development, testified on the body of evidence surrounding causation, incidence, and prevalence of ASD. Bob Wright, Co-Founder of Autism Speaks, Scott Badesch, President and CEO of Autism Society, Mark Blaxill, Chair of Safeminds, Bradley McGarry, Mercyhurst University - Asperger Initiative, Michael John Carley, Executive Director of Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP), and Ari Ne’eman, President of Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) all spoke in the second panel. Much of both discussions focused on a long list of suspected causes of ASD and many questions focused on the issue of vaccination; however, the issue of improved diagnostic capabilities was also discussed. Bob Wright mentioned the need to move forward with legislation, such as those to support insurance initiatives, and Bradley McGarry emphasized the need to consider higher education supports. Scott Badesch, Michael John Carley, and Ari Ne’eman brought up the issues of quality of life, education, housing, employment, and issues impacting individuals with ASD across the entire lifespan, including Medicaid portability and regulations regarding employment and SSI for adults with ASD.

To watch the hearings, please click here.

 

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