Established in 2004 Specialisterne Foundation is an international not for profit social innovation enterprise. Specialisterne’s aim is to create greater employment opportunities for one million autistic people by influencing and working with employers to realise the potential of autistic employees and adopt a more positive attitude towards the talents and skills autistic individuals can bring to the workplace.
Founder Thorkil Sonne developed the Dandelion Methodology and approach to help identify and observe the talents autistic individuals can offer in the workplace that may not be immediately visible or observable through traditional recruitment and selection processes that generally present as a barrier to employment for autistic people.
The Specialisterne Australia branch was established in 2015 to build on and support the foundation's global ambition to create 1 million meaningful jobs for people with autism. Since 2015 Specialisterne AU has worked with a number of Global clients including financial, IT, government and consultancy business clients to successfully source, place, retain and increase the value of autistic talents within their businesses.
The Dandelion Model
The value of what you see depends on who you are.
why the Dandelion represents our core values and business model. Context is key. Many view the dandelion as a weed; something to be rooted out of our lawns and flower beds. What a lot of people don’t know is that, when cultivated, the dandelion is one of the most valuable and useful plants in nature – known for its nutritional, healing and medicinal properties.
A dandelion is a weed in an environment where it is not welcomed. If the dandelion is in an environment where it is welcomed, valued, and nurtured, it is an herb. People with autism often struggle to feel welcome in the labor market. Specialisterne strives to create an environment where each individual can thrive and provides support both for the individual and the employer to maintain this comfort zone.
On our logo, the blue square around the dandelion represents the open sky of opportunities, with a rounded, softened corner to illustrate that even though we are in a tough market, we take into consideration individual needs when creating our work environment.
The “I” letters in Specialisterne have the yellow colour of the mature dandelion flower, to underscore the link between the logo and the name of the Specialisterne Foundation.
The tagline, “Employ Different Thinking”, helps all stakeholders, no matter their perspective, to stay focused on our goals and what we need to do to achieve them.