Autism – a disorder of neural development affecting 1 in 88 children and characterized by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication – and SAP – a market leader in enterprise application software which helps companies of all sizes and industries run better – are two words you would never think to pair together. But I’m going to do it right now. And together they add up to something special.
For years autism was misunderstood. Those afflicted were shunned from social environments and relegated to isolation. Today we are in a new era of enlightenment, one where the science of understanding autism has become unified with technology. The result is far better treatment and enrichment of the lives of those afflicted and their families.
Now here’s where SAP comes in. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, SAP made a huge noise to support autism awareness. Here’s a quick look at how we did it:
- Autism educational event at SAP’s Palo Alto Labs campus featuring Faheem Ahmed from SAP, Cheryl Pray from Els for Autism, Peter Bell from Autism Speaks, Gary James from A4cwsn, Randi Hagerman from UC Davis MIND Institute, and Robert Miller from The National Fragile X Foundation.
- Sponsorship of The Els for Autism Golf Challenge.
- The release of the SAP CareCircles app, a free service that helps patients and their families locate and obtain best practices in caregiving from experts and caregivers around the world.
- An announcement on May 21, 2013 acknowledging that by 2020, SAP will have hired a number of employees around the world with autism equaling 1% of its workforce.
- A special SAP Game-Changers Radio episode featuring Robert M. Miller, National Fragile X Foundation, Louise W. Gane, MS, M.I.N.D. Institute, Cheryl Pray, Els for Autism Foundation, and Faheem Ahmed of SAP Discussing how technology is dissolving the isolation and bringing together patients, families and caregivers in new and positive ways.
Why is SAP involved in autism awareness and why now? SAP recognizes that approximately 1 percent of the world’s population is on the autism spectrum and should be equally represented in the workforce. Technology today not only helps with treatment, management and quality of life for autism sufferers, it has also opened their doors to jobs enabling them to lead productive, engaged lives. They are a great asset for SAP because they pay close attention to detail and have an ability to solve complex problems in different ways than “normal” folks. They possess an incredible ability to process information at super human speeds and efficiency.*
Having volunteered my time to participate in the SAP efforts, I can say that SAP is not just throwing money at a problem, SAP is contributing to the solution in a uniquely ‘SAP way’. And it’s not just during the month of April that we commit to this cause. So, for our part, Bonnie D. Graham, host and producer of SAP Game-Changers Radio and I have chosen to re-air our Coffee Break with Game Changers show devoted to autism on July 3, at 11 am ET. It was a deeply moving and inspirational show I know you’ll appreciate.
Never have I been more proud to work for any company.