On Monday I awoke to read on Twitter that a letter had been published in a UK newspaper The Guardian. It came from two autism charities who argued including the National Autistic Society.
“With more than one in 100 children on the autism spectrum in England, every teacher will have autistic students in their class throughout their careers. The lifelong condition can present serious difficulties, but children who are understood and supported appropriately at school can make excellent progress.
Yet training for teachers in special educational needs, and autism in particular, is patchy. Some teachers have received none. Teachers deserve to be better equipped, with a Nasuwt survey in 2013 finding that 60% believe they haven’t had the training they need to teach autistic students.
The government is currently reviewing the initial teacher training framework in England and we want it to include autism. We and more than 7,000 supporters have signed a letter to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, calling on her to make this a reality.
The right training will help give every autistic child a teacher who understands them, enabling them to succeed at school and beyond.”
a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
a chance for employment or promotion.
synonyms: favorable time/occasion/moment, right set of circumstances, opening, option, window (of opportunity), turn, go, possibility;
As a father of a son on the autism spectrum, I asked myself recently what I want most for my son as he begins to reach adulthood. The word that came to mind was opportunity. Opportunity to get a skill that will allow him to function in society. When I look at the sad statistics that say only 56% of those on the autism spectrum graduate from high school and 80% of them are under or unemployed, I decided that I needed to do something not only for my child, but for the thousands of families facing the same challenge.
April 2nd is world autism awareness day and the United Nations has declared that the 2015 Theme is Employment: The Autism Advantage. Several tech companies are seeing opportunities in hiring individuals on the autism spectrum. German software giant SAP wants to take 1 percent of its workforce from those on the autism spectrum by the year 2020. This is not altruism. According to The Wall Street Journal, SAP believes autistic employees will benefit their business. Jose Valasco, head of the autism initiative for SAP, says people with autism have characteristics that SAP needs in software testers or debuggers.
I was so inspired by LiveCode’s mission #EveryoneCanCreateApps that I approached Kevin Miller, CEO of LiveCode, about creating a specific campaign to train individuals on the Autism spectrum to code. His response was incredible. Let’s really make an impact. Let’s set a goal of 3,000 people on the autism spectrum. Let’s create a REAL opportunity with LiveCode by teaching 3,000 young adults to create Apps.
The plan? To customize the “Create it with LiveCode” learning materials specifically for the learning styles of individuals on the Autism spectrum. LiveCode reached out to experts and was able to partner with the National Autistic Society, Autism Initiatives, and Specialisterne [they helped initiate the program at SAP]. I am so grateful to the LiveCode Team for taking the risk and investing the time to make this happen.
However, LiveCode is a small business with limited resources. In addition to covering the cost for the in-house staff, it will need to add several people to create the materials, engage the students, and work with mentors. The LiveCode team is going to need financial support, so we are creating a Crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to cover expenses. The LiveCode community can also assist by agreeing to mentor and support students during the learning process and by reaching out to organizations in its local communities, recruiting students.
The primary reward in this campaign is to give real opportunities and change the lives of 3000 individuals on the autism spectrum.
For those that are interested in getting involved or reserving a slot for an individual, please visit www.livecode.com/autism