SAP Labs Latin America in São Leopoldo (RS), is a SAP organization focused on application development and support services for the Americas and it is a reference for its structured program to enable people with autism to work in the technology field. The company currently employs professionals with autism for the Software Development Area and received a company’s global recognition for the results achieved. “These professionals bring different and innovative views for our processes, adding value in the results”, highlights Thais Catarino, leader of the SAP Autism at Work program in Brasil.

To receive the professionals at SAP Labs, both leaders and co-workers underwent training for awareness and better integration of the team. “The performance has been better than expected and, with respect to the work environment, we worked on noise and light issues since two colleague had hypersensitivity”, she explains.

This fact is actually highlighted by two autistic employees who worked on Globalization Services SAP Labs sector. “I love working here for the environment, people and the psychological support. Managers help me whenever I need something. They are motivators and have great knowledge”, explains Bruno Luis Rodrigues Vigna. Marcia Machado highlights the company’s other advantages such as ecological concerns, inclusion and diversity. “It is gratifying to have been included in the program. SAP has great respect towards me”, she said.

Studies show that 1% of the world population has autism, which is equivalent to 70 million people. SAP, in partnership with Specialisterne from Denmark, developed in 2013 two pilot projects in Ireland and India to promote and enjoy the distinctive talents of people with autism when working in the areas of software, programming, and data management. The initiative has been replicated to all business units globally, and is already carried out in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Ireland and the United States. In 2016, will also be inserted in Australia and Korea.

“We are delighted by the access opportunity that SAP gives worldwide to a huge pool of undiscovered talent that will enforce the company as a world leader in innovation,” says Thorkil Sonne, founder of Specialisterne and chairman for the Specialist People Foundation. “SAP is the first multinational company to partner with us on a global scale. This partnership will put SAP as a conscious leader and motivate the ecosystem to follow their example”, he says.

This experience of SAP has already been shared with more than 50 companies and leaders worldwide. It is a way to encourage other companies that have the vision to adopt these practices. According to experts, in many countries people with autism do not have access to services that promote them on an equal basis with others, the right to health, education, employment and community life.

Facts about autism

  • The Autism Spectrum Disorder impairs the ability to communicate and interact. – According to the CDC, 1 in 42 boys and 1 189 girls have autism. – 85% of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders are unemployed, while 60% have above average cognitive abilities.