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Leadership and Hacking Autism

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King

October 11, 2011 developers gathered on the Hewlett-Packard Campus in Cupertino to Hack Autism for the first time.  My experience there was transformative and resulted in me writing “Reflections on Hacking Autism.”   These reflections built on two previous articles about the idea and meaning of Hacking Autism.   Today it is unclear whether Hacking Autism will become a significant program for Autism Speaks, but there is no question it is an important idea.  This idea can be seen in the original ABC story from 2011 below (I am interviewed in this story).

Hacking Autism is more attitude than program.  Keeping this attitude alive will require leadership from parents and professionals.  What can we do?

  1. Inspire Service – whenever and wherever we can our message to engineers and developers should be, “You can help others!”  Help them see and understand the importance of including  Autism in their development mission.  Here in Silicon Valley people want to help others, but often have no idea how to do it.  We can provide the answer.
  2. Invest in the Garage – encourage groups like Autism Speaks and other foundations to provide grants for those willing to enter the garage.  If teams of  two or three college graduates received grants to support their Hacking Autism efforts for 3-5 year after college, they would discover technologies to help those with disabilities overcome their human limits.
  3. Influence others for Autism – Leadership is influence.  We can do a great deal simply by giving young minds a vision to Hack Autism!