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It’s said that, “If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
This quote complements John Elder Robison’s message at the SAP Autism at Work Summit. Robison is the author of the 2007 memoir, Look Me in the Eye, and is a speaker and strong advocate for people with autism.
The Summit, which took place on March 23-24 at the SAP Newtown Square headquarters, was purposed to encourage and celebrate neurodiversity in the labor force. The Summit summoned 200+ SAP customers, executives, and influencers all advocating for change and striving to help people with disabilities find employment.
For a recap of the Summit’s first day, read this blog by Angela Schuller.
1% of the world’s population is considered to lie on the Autism Spectrum. 80% of those people are unemployed.
During his morning keynote address, Robison discussed his experience growing up with Asperger’s syndrome. He often felt sad and like a loner, unable to make friends. His challenges in social settings social were dismissed as laziness, or deliberate misbehavior, and as a result he dropped out of high school in tenth grade.
Over time, Robison overcame this system that so successfully shut him out. He later joined the corporate world, yet realized that he did not belong. Again he felt alienated.
Robison quit and began fixing luxury vehicles out of his garage. Today, he owns one of the most successful independent repair businesses in New England.
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