Front Range Center for Neurodiversity
So, many people with autism and Asperger’s are the rock stars of their given profession. If that seems surprising, it’s because the societal narrative around autism is rooted in pathology. We regard autism as a “failed version of normal” and so we diagnose kids and adults with something called a disorder. We continually assess these individuals on what they can’t do, rather than the highly specialized and unique talents they possess. In a pathology model, therapeutic interventions aim to extinguish so-called autistic behaviors to make room for more socially compliant ones.
That’s bullshit. And it’s archaic.
The future is embracing Neurodiversity — accepting that autism, Asperger’s, and other developmental phenomena are not only normal, naturally occurring cognitive variations, but indeed contribute to the success of mankind. Like any biological system, we need diversity to grow and thrive as a people — ethnic, socioeconomic, and neurological. Companies are starting to realize this; more and more are adopting formal hiring and retention practices specifically for people with autism. Why? Because we are amazing employees. We are sharp. We are highly focused on our work. We are productive, loyal, honest, and fair. Companies are realizing that a neurodiverse workforce can give them a singular competitive advantage.
I am working with some amazing people to establish Front Range Center for Neurodiversity, a global organization creating lifelong inclusion opportunities for kids and adults with autism. Whereas most autism programs aim to remediate autistic behaviors, the mission of FRC is inspired by the unique strengths and abilities of people on the spectrum. Our approach is to develop in autistic people the social cognition, emotional regulation, and transactional supports needed to thrive in a world that doesn’t yet understand them, while working to create a world that does.
We stand to make the greatest immediate impact by bridging employers to a qualified neurodiverse workforce, so we are designing an independent school sponsored by corporations and private businesses to cultivate the skills they are seeking. In addition, FRC will provide developmental support to individuals with autism and their families, all in a sensory-optimized environment that is strategically integrated with nature.
But that’s just the beginning. We are scaling Front Range Center for global impact, and I invite you to bounce over to the FRC website to learn more.