Contrary to recent coverage, autism already is at work in technology and I am proof. I have decades in both software and hardware engineering and I am autistic. I wasn’t diagnosed until well into my working life at age 54.
Once I learned the traits of Asperger’s, a mild form of autism, I began recognizing it in virtually every tech group I have worked with. Many undiagnosed adults in tech fields struggling with fitting their unique thinking into the rigid structure of most companies. The same approaches which help my autism spectrum companions land a job work just as well with us the hidden, maybe undiagnosed autistic workers.
Maybe if I had been understood, I might have made less of those “Honey, I just got fired” calls.
I had the great fortune to be introduced to Ed Thomson from Uptimize. Ed was in Denver and we got the chance to talk about Autism and Neurodiversity in the workplace.
Uptimize provides digital delivered training to help integrate the neurodiverse into the workplace. They have had great success with their materials being used by Microsoft, Google, JPMorgan Chase and more.
Ed and I discussed a number of areas where we deliver a better customer experience if we collaborate. Ed's a great guy and I am looking forward to working with him much closer.
Got a wonderful thank you note as well as some very nice little gifts for teaching a class session of Cornell's ILR College first Neurodiversity course. With receiving thank you notes from Ivy league colleges being a new experience, I thought I would share a picture of the card.
Feedback has been tremendous. What really blows me away is the longterm effect this one class session will have. The students will be taking a new perspective on Neurodiversity to the companies that hire them. But, the teaching assistants and professor are now armed with a refined view of neurodiversity from the viewpoint of the neurodiverse.
When I started down this path almost 3 years ago, I didn't see teaching a class at Cornell. That is the amazing part of heading in new directions. It always seems the things that drew you in and got you going are only a tiny part of all it can be. The opportunities which appear are impossible to see before they happen.
Make that new commitment and work on it...
Through a crazy chain of connections, I was introduced to Amy Williams. Besides being brilliant, caring, and attractive, she is a born networker and connector.
Amy decided there were a number of people she knows who needed to meet each other. That was her impetus to host what came to be called "Amy's Networking Event." To give everyone a chance to talk about what they do, Amy chose to have everyone present in the PechaKucha format of 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide.
This was a challenging format for me. I have been trained to speak using few slides. Was challenging to speak about each slide 20 seconds whether it should have been shorter or longer. But it was a challenge and after calculating how many words I speak in 20 seconds I created my script.
Enjoy the video as I push through 20 slides, 20 seconds each!
Amazing what can happen when you start down a path on nothing but faith. When Karen, my wife, and I started down this path to become part of the information/education business we had no idea where it would lead. The path has been more rugged and the commitments and opportunity grow every day.
This is something I never imagined. I grew up not too far from Cornell so it was always a big name. I am also a community college dropout. Being able to teach a class and share my life experiences with a new generation was a privilege.
My dad valued education highly even though he never had the option of pursuing it himself. I think the opportunity I was given would make him proud.
Tim gives an overview of his experience in the tech workforce having Aspergers, quickly summarizes Autism, Aspergers, ASD, and HFA, then explains how this all fits under the concept of Neurodiversity.
Tim also describes "A"SD Listers. They are the tech equivalent of Hollywood A Listers. Temperamental babies who can be difficult, but without them, movies fail. Tim will help you recognize these key players in your organization.
Tim then teaches 3 points which can help you to connect with your "A"SD Lister employees.
Finally got the opportunity to mix the sound with the video my daughter Joanna shot and edit some nice excerpts. Hope you like them and learn as much as I did explaining.
A quick high-level explanation of neurodiversity, neurotypical, and neurodiverse and how all this relates to the Tech / Non-Tech barrier.
The Bread Story. A personal story which illustrates the vast difference between my wife and myself.
What ticks off the non-tech neurotypical
I had a great time sharing an innovative new way to improve the Tech / Non-Tech divide using the ideas of Neurodiversity.
This is a recording of the presentation I gave at the Microsoft Denver Developer Day. It provides insight and instructions on a new way to engage the non-technical.
The first 3-1/2 minutes of sound is listenable but poor. The rest has great sound. Forgot to turn on my lapel mic and had to grab the first few minutes from the camcorder audio track.
I had a great time giving this presentation. It led to some very interesting conversations. Most focused on wanting the business side to understand what we need and adapt to it. I see that as status quo, not fixing the problem.
Just getting over the red eye flight home from the Autism at Work summit held at SAP’s Palo Alto facility. Though held at SAP, this movement is being driven by a collaboration of 4 major corporations, SAP, Microsoft, HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise), and EY (Ernst Young) in combination with universities, partners, and other companies beginning their involvement. Autism at Work is the name wrapped around these and other major companies’ efforts to integrate autistic workers into their normal business environment and culture. Amazingly, this is not being done just to be good corporate citizens, but because it is proving to be a business case that is very good for the business.
What these companies have recognized is, within the autistic population are people whose traits and strategies aid them to be tremendous performing employees when in the right job. But, these same people can’t get through the normal hiring process due to social or communication...
How many times have you heard “There is no “I” in TEAM.” This is wrong. I believe there is a very important “I”, which is hidden in plain sight. Before we finish, I will show you the “I”. But, I am doing tell & show instead of the conventional direction. Now about the missing “I” in TEAM and some unique people this important “I” represents.
I will start with myself as an example. In the normal diversity buckets I am a majority white male. Missing is I am autistic with Asperger’s. I’ve worked 20+ years with computer databases and as a product design engineer for 10. The traits of being an Aspie (someone who has Asperger’s) gave me the mental disposition to excel in technical pursuits. Other Asperger’s traits caused me to ineffectively communicate with neurotypically minded employees. My biggest Asperger’s strength is my ability to view patterns and relationships and...