The Dandelion Program part of a plan to enable one million jobs globally for people with autism

Details of an Australian first employment model for people with autism will part be detailed in the Symposium sessions of the fourth Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Brisbane today.

The Australian Government Department of Human Services and Hewlett-Packard Australia, together with Specialist People Foundation commenced "The Dandelion Program" in September 2014 to provide skilled employment for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The program name is derived from the dandelion logo for the Specialist People Foundation, whose aim is to enable 1 million jobs to people with autism and similar challenges worldwide.

Mitch Levy from the Department of Human Services and HP's Michael Fieldhouse will present on the program which has already been successfully implemented in Adelaide and creates teams of people within an innovative delivery model to support software testing within DHS using HP's market leading testing methods and tools.

Also presenting in this session is Specialist People founder Thorkil Sonne. Sonne worked in the telecommunication and IT business areas before founding Specialisterne (Danish for The Specialists) in 2003 after his youngest son was diagnosed with autism. To respond to the requests for support from parents in more than 100 countries Thorkil founded the non-profit Specialist People Foundation in 2008 and set a goal to enable one million jobs for people with autism and similar challenges.

"The partnership with HP and DHS is unique and will act as a role model demonstrating how people with autism can become independent tax payers, contribute to the market economy and realise their potential in the workforce. I am very pleased with the results we have seen so far, and I look forward to research through their research partner Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University.

We are also excited to announce the establishment of Specialisterne in the Australia to support the Australian community and our partners." he said.

APAC15 is jointly hosted by Autism Queensland and the Australian APAC15 is jointly hosted by Autism Queensland and the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders. The three day conference will close tomorrow.