April is National Autism Awareness Month, and to kick it off, LiveCode, an open-source platform for building apps, is launching an initiative to teach individuals on the autism spectrum how to code. The company has teamed up with the National Autistic Society, Autism Initiatives, and Danish company Specialisterne to bring software development skills to 3,000 autistic people, aged 13 and up.
The initiative was created when Todd Fabacher, CEO and founder of Digital Pomegranate, saw that only 56% of autistic individuals graduate from high school, and 80% of them are either unemployed or under employed.
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“As a father of a son on the autism spectrum, I asked myself recently what I want most for my son as he begins to reach adulthood,” he said in a video. “The word that came to mind was opportunity: opportunity to get a skill that will allow him to function in society. I decided that I needed to do something not only for my child, but for the thousands of families facing the same challenge.”
To solve this problem, Fabacher approached LiveCode (as well as autism organizations) to launch an Indiegogo campaign aimed at empowering autistic individuals through coding. Through the initiative, LiveCode and its partners will work on teaching people on the spectrum how to build applications; introduce them to the technology industry; and form relationships with other participants going through the same learning experience. In addition, LiveCode is expected to provide learning materials, while the National Autistic Society and partners plan to offer training support.
The money raised from the Indiegogo campaign will go toward funding online support teams, hiring some trainees for at least a year, and training young autistic individuals in software development.
At the end of the initiative, the organizations will provide an autism-friendly online marketplace where individuals can look for work if they’re not hired right away.
More information is available here.