Thursday, October 20, 2011

Visiting Aspiritech, and Meeting the Autism Army Mom

I had a chance to visit a very unique company recently, and I invited the Autism Army Mom to join me.

Aspiritech is the only company in America that provides gainful employment to adults on the autism spectrum. It was founded by Moshe and Brenda Weitzberg when their son with Asperger’s syndrome was fired from his job bagging groceries. Their son, Oran, like many others with high-functioning autism, had trouble finding meaningful work in the area in which he was trained.

The Weitzbergs discovered that these adults on the spectrum, with their amazing attention to detail and the ability to perform repetitive tasks, are particularly suited to testing software. And so, they formed Aspiritech, which now employs 15 people with high functioning autism.

One of the workers I met is Rick Alexander. Rick has been so successful that he recently was placed in the role of Team Lead. I feature Rick in my Patch article on the company, but in a Hanabi Boy blog extra, I want to add how interesting it was to get his perspective on being put in a management role for the first time.

Rick said that wasn’t very good at managing people because he didn’t know how to react to the confusing behavior of others. Hah, that was always one of my biggest challenges when I managed a team, too. I can only imagine how hard it would be for someone on the autism spectrum.

Anyway, please read my Patch article for the full story on the successes and ongoing challenges for this fantastic company. I know a lot of us parents are hoping that this business model will be successful. Hopefully, there are enough businesses out there that are willing to take a chance on hiring Aspiritech for their software testing. It would be wonderful to have companies like this when Kai is old enough to start his career.

* * * * *

In addition to meeting with the amazing folks at Aspiritech, I also had the pleasure of meeting fellow blogger Lynn Hudoba for the first time. Lynn is the renowned Autism Army Mom, who always has an insightful, and usually very humorous perspective on being the parent of a child with autism.

Sometimes you hear stories about people who meet celebrities and are let down that they don’t live up to the impression you have of them. In meeting Lynn, though, she turned out to be every bit as likeable as you’d expect from reading her blog.

Lynn also is responsible for Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids, the new book that features a great collection of original essays from over forty bloggers. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, click on the link in the top right corner and check it out.


  1. I won't be forgiving you for posting that nasty picture of me! I used the same pic on my post today, but slightly doctored it :)

    Thanks so much for including me in your visit! What a wonderful day...and a wonderful Patch article it produced!!

  2. Oh, did you doctor the photo on your post? I couldn't tell. ;)

    Lynn, I loved your post - just think how awesome would it be if a couple of bloggers and our friends can help generate some business for Aspiritech. Let's use the social media for something truly beneficial!

  3. Rick's story is one of great hope. I am very happy for him. It is because so many people put form over function that highly qualified applicants like Rick are passed over. It was interesting to know that the company had found 50 percent more bugs than others....Go Aspie power :)

  4. Yes, Rick and his co-workers are showing what they can do. I just hope that companies who need software testing will hire Aspiritech and give them a chance. We need companies like that around when our kids reach adulthood.


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