Perceptions: Develop Your Talent

dcalni-339x140-300x124Creativity Month 2016EyeAre you studying for a career in Creative Arts, Digital Content, Animation or Film Production?

Develop your talent: How to study and work with Social Communication Difference (such as being on the Autistic Spectrum).


In partnership with the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure and in line with Creativity Month (March 2016), Specialisterne NI are hosting a FREE half-day workshop in Belfast on Thursday 24th March!  Learn to be part of an increasingly diverse workforce and to communicate in future work roles.


The workshop is aimed at University and College students who are studying to secure a career in Creative Arts, Digital Content and Film Production. Students with Social Communication Difference (such as being on the Autistic Spectrum) as well as students who are interested in the experience of students with social communication difference are welcome to attend.

Read more

Forbes Article with Specialisterne Founder Thorkil Sonne: This Visionary may completely disrupt the tech industry as we know it


Thorkil Sonne, Founder of Specialisterne


‘Utilize a “variance-widening” approach, in which companies actively hire individuals with “differences” (abilities or qualities the company doesn’t currently have). Hire unusual people; assess their skills carefully so you know what capabilities you have to work with. Keep the connection to short-term job needs loose, with the assumption that job requirements will continually evolve. Understand that candidates need not be “well-rounded”, since depth in one area can often offset shortfalls in other areas.’

‘one of his proudest moments involved a team of individuals on the autism spectrum (Team Specialisterne) winning a prestigious European robotic competition organized by European Space Agency.’

Congratulations to Shelley!


One of Specialisterne NI’s first candidates, Shelley Corrigan. has shared her experiences working at Tascomi for the past year.



Starting the New Year with the Young Foundation



Specialisterne NI is excited to start the New Year with the support of the Young Foundation, as one of 14 social ventures selected to be part of the N Ireland Accelerator programme.

The Amplify NI Scaling Accelerator is an innovation support programme to rapidly accelerate the growth of new solutions to social problems in Northern Ireland. The programme is designed to support organisations who have demonstrated social impact, and is funded by the Department of Social Development.

Specialisterne NI has been selected along with 13 other organisations. We are looking forward to it!

What I learned about Social Communication in 2015

Last year I loosened my attachment to the spoken word, which may sound unusual for someone who coaches in social communication. People tend to assume that the words they speak are received. I have had the opportunity to observe that this does not always happen.

My interest in communication took shape when I studied languages at University. It developed when I led a team to coach my son to learn to speak. I am interested that when we speak we can assume our words are received as they were intended. However in the space between 2 people the meaning can be lost, it can be as if the words had never been spoken.

Read more

Interviewing Applicants with Social Communication Difference


We are delighted to have both Recruitment Consultants and internal recruiters enrolling on our ‘Interviewing Applicants with Social Communication Difference’ morning workshop on 29 January. We coach participants in how to spot talent and manage an interview situation when you believe the candidate has the skills for the job, but it may not be coming across at interview.

Read more

How Lego is helping people on the Autistic spectrum build a bright future

For the team at Specialisterne NI, ‘playing’ with Lego is all in a day’s work, a social enterprise recruitment consultancy that pairs people on the autistic spectrum with highly skilled jobs in the burgeoning IT sector.

The tiny bricks and complicated build of Lego makes it a perfect assessment tool to see how job candidates work together and use their skills and abilities.

Specialisterne NI manager Sharon Didrichsen said: “This innovative model that we developed ourselves replicates a work-like activity – that of building and programming Lego Mindstorms Robots in small teams, which is used in addition to the traditional interview, to see candidates’ skills and abilities, as well as any areas of support.”

Read more

What does Lego have to do with getting a job?

Today at the end of another Lego Assessment Day at Specialisterne NI’s office at Skainos, Belfast, I am again struck by the difference that using a work-like scenario such as building Lego Mindstorms in groups of two, makes to the Assessment process. A recruiter for over 10 years I have used interview techniques and references in order to best assess a person’s skills, yet when 2 years ago I started working with people with Autism Spectrum Disorders I was challenged to look at other means for assessing skills, given that what you see at interview for a person on the Autistic Spectrum may not reflect the person’s full skills, it’s a bit like being tested at your point of weakness, with the results forming the final answer for what you have to offer.

In a Lego Assessment participants build Lego Mindstorms Robots and programme them in small teams. The Specialisterne NI team take observational data and code this in relation to team, task and self-management factors. In post assessment interviews the interviewer explores moments from the assessment to test what we think we saw, and use this conversation as a springboard to discuss career aspirations and next steps.

Read more

The Final Flagship Event of DCAL Creativity Month considers the talents of people on the Autistic Spectrum for Digital Content and Film/Video Production roles

Keynote Speaker: Channel 4’s Adam Gee: Multi Platform Specialist, speaking on ‘Born Risky’: how Channel 4 sets about being risky and pushing the diversity envelope and how its worked for Channel 4 changing people’s perception of diversity.

NOTE: April is World Autism Awareness Month and this year’s theme is Employment the Autism Advantage

Arts Council of Northern Ireland and DCAL commissioned Specialisterne NI to host the final, flagship event of Creativity Month in N Ireland.

Read more

Farry supports those on the Autistic Spectrum into work through Software Testers’ Academy

April is World Autism Awareness Month and 2015’s theme is ‘Autism: the employment advantage’. This month also marks the start of new careers in Software Testing for four participants of the 2014/15 Software Testers’ Academy who are on the Autistic Spectrum, and who recently celebrated their success in securing job roles with leading IT Sector employers at the Software Tester Academy graduation hosted by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry at parliament Buildings.

This year’s Software Testers’ Academy was unique in that Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) engaged the services of Specialisterne NI, to recruit four  participants for the Academy from the Autistic population in N Ireland.

Read more