#whenIgrowup

Mind Shift Welcomes Drew Erickson

FB_IMG_1521038669534.jpg

Mind Shift is growing!  We are extremely happy to welcome Andrew Erickson to the Mind Shift family. 

Originally from Fargo, Drew is married with three children.  Sophi is nine, Jude is seven, and Nora is two.

Jude, diagnosed as high functioning on the spectrum, drives Drew’s passion for wanting to improve life for individuals with ASD.  Drew wants to leave a legacy of pulling potential out of people.

Currently, Drew coaches varsity football at Park Christian School in Moorhead, and is a big Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Fan.  He also volunteers with the Prairie Heights Community Church Youth Group.

Drew has been working with people on the spectrum for over eight years, starting as an early childhood teacher, and then joining the team at Prairie St. Johns, who he calls “the best of the best.”  Drew spent six years working with youth on the spectrum at Prairie, mostly with children in crisis.  Drew has also organized summer camps for children with ASD.

Drew will be overseeing our in-house project team and will be managing the Specialists that are currently placed in businesses around our community. 

We’re very happy to have Drew on our team and look forward to working with him to find great careers for adults on the autism spectrum.

Yesterday I received a text from a Specialist, “Is this Drew guy legit?”

The answer is yes.  Yes, he is.

To learn how Drew can help your business find amazing employees, contact Mind Shift today. 

Myths about Autism are Bad for Business

puzzle-1152794_640.jpg

As an organization that works diligently to find meaningful careers for adults on the autism spectrum, Mind Shift often has to dispel myths and misconceptions about the diagnosis.  This is an important part of our mission.  If we are going to change the world of work, we need to address those incorrect ideas that can get in the way of an organization hiring individuals on the spectrum. 

Below are 7 more myths regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder:

1.      Individuals with autism don’t feel emotion.  Actually, individuals with autism just express their emotions in different ways.

2.     Individuals with autism don’t understand other people’s emotions.  The truth is that people with autism often have difficulty interpreting facial cues, tone of voice, and body language, which makes understanding how somebody is feeling in the moment especially difficult.

3.     People with autism are antisocial and don’t want friends.  Because of the difficulty interpreting emotional cues, and higher than average anxiety, people on the spectrum may avoid social situations and come across as aloof.  The truth is people on the spectrum want to have meaningful and deep interpersonal connections just like anybody else. 

4.     Autism is caused by bad parenting.  This is absolutely untrue.  In the 50’s, autism was said to be caused by mothers who were cold and unemotional.  This has been proven FALSE!

5.     Autism is a mental illness.  This is not true.  Autism is a neurological condition.  People on the spectrum process information differently, but it is not an “illness.”

6.     Autism is curable.  Actually, there is no known cause for autism, and there is no known “cure.”  That being said, should we be trying to “cure” it in the first place?  Autism offers a unique way of seeing the world.  And those with autism should be valued because of this perspective. 

7.     People with autism are all alike.  Absolutely not true!  There’s a saying: If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.  No two people are alike, and that goes for people with autism too! 

It’s important that myths such as these are dispelled, especially since some of these inaccuracies might prevent great businesses from hiring individuals on the spectrum, even when those individuals might be the most qualified fit for roles that need to be filled. 

Mind Shift will continue to speak honestly about autism and autism employment.  And we will continue to advocate for adults with autism.  If you want to learn more about autism, and about leveraging the strengths of individuals on the spectrum, reach out to Mind Shift.  We work with some unique, talented, and amazing people who are ready to work with you.

Office Sign Company Continues to Do Good in Fargo

OSC.jpg

A little over a month ago, Mind Shift started a partnership with Office Sign Company.  The business started making signs in 2008, and has been growing ever since.

Not only is Office Sign Company a supplier and manufacturer of high quality and unique office signs, they are also a business that invests in their community.  One of the organization’s core values is Service, and the OSC team can be seen living this value in their service to the Fargo-Moorhead community.

Here is a list of JUST A FEW of the organizations and events that Office Sign Company has sponsored, volunteered for, or donated to:

  • American Diabetes Association
  • Fargo South High School Volleyball
  • FM United Soccer
  • Longspur Prairie Fund
  • March of Dimes
  • Moorhead Crush Softball
  • Nature of the North
  • Operation Thank You
  • RDO Caters Taters for Charity
  • Red River Market
  • Rourke Art Museum
  • Silver Goat Media
  • Tech Tailgate
  • TEDxConcordia
  • Theatre B
  • Tri City Soccer Club
  • Trollwood School for Performing Arts
  • Unseen
  • Village Family Services

And this list doesn’t include the work OSC has done for The Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota, The United Way, Ronald McDonald House, TedX Fargo, The Arts Partnership, Habitat for Humanity, Prairie Public Radio, and The Salvation Army. 

We are so happy and proud to partner with Office Sign Company.  They are truly a force for good in our community.  We look forward to seeing them around town so we can say, “we work with them!”  Thanks for the opportunity, OSC.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank you.

thank-you-490606_640.png

Last Thursday was Giving Hearts Day 2018.  Where were you on that day?  What will you say you did?

If you were one of the generous individuals who gave to Mind Shift, you can say many things.

You can say that you helped a non-profit meet its $25,000 match.

You can say that you made an impact on your community and your region.

You can say that you were one of the individuals that made Giving Hearts Day 2018 a record-breaking event.

And you can say you helped find meaningful careers for adults on the autism spectrum. 

Thank you to everybody who generously gave to Mind Shift.  We are excited to continue our mission to help individuals with ASD find independence, integrity, and an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to their community.

Thank you to the Impact Foundation and the Giving Hearts Day team for making this wonderful day a reality.  Because of you this day is a tradition.  And because of this day we can continue to make our communities and region a better place.

Thank you to Veronica Michael who took the time to educate the Mind Shift team on how it all works.  You are kind, and patient.  And thanks to Amanda Sayre for the weekly emails, you reminded us that we’re not on our own. 

Thank you to Be More Colorful, Abovo, and Office Sign Company for organizing the Giving Hearts Day event downtown.  We were honored and humbled to be included with The Arts Partnership, CHARISM, FFA, The F5 Project, CCRI, and TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics.  Thanks for spending the day with us.  And thanks to Thunder Coffee for fueling the fun!

This is going to be a wonderful year.  Thanks again. 

"There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle."  - Albert Einstein

Where were you on Giving Hearts Day 2018?

giving-hearts-2018-medium.jpg

Thursday is going to be a great day.  It’s National Kite Flying Day!  “Planet of the Apes” premiered on this day in 1968.  And it’s Giving Hearts Day! 

This is a big day for Mind Shift.  Giving Hearts Day helps us continue with our mission of finding great careers for adults on the autism spectrum. 

But this day of giving doesn’t only help Mind Shift.  There are hundreds of charities and non-profits that participate on this day.  These charities work to improve the lives of our neighbors and family, they improve our community.  So please mark your calendar, your generosity goes directly to helping these organizations and their missions.

This year, the first $25,000 donated to Mind Shift will be matched!  That means your money will go twice as far. 

We will be at Abovo in downtown Fargo on Giving Hearts Day, so come see us, join us for this day of fun.  Thanks to Be More Colorful and Office Sign Company for making the Giving Hearts Day Giving Stations happen. 

Go to www.givingheartsday.com to sign up for an email reminder.  And thank you.  When you give to Mind Shift, you give independence and opportunity to our friends and family on the autism spectrum.

It's Almost Giving Hearts Day!!

DLJ80hNW0AAfM5l.jpg

Giving Hearts Day is right around the corner!    

It’s a special day because it allows Mind Shift to continue its mission to find careers for adults on the autism spectrum.  A career offers independence, it helps people feel valued, and gives an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.

Please get involved this year by donating, volunteering, and spreading the word!  When you support local charities, you support your community and your neighbors.

2017 was a record-breaking year for the people at the Impact Institute, and they hope for this year to be the same.

Did you know that during the 2017 Giving Hearts Day:

·      $10, 692, 653 was raised for local charities and non-profits

·      21,816 people donated

·      There were 50,920 individual donations made

·      The average gift was $141.07

·      The average donor gave to 2.3 non-profits

·      People from 46 different states donated to Giving Hearts Day 2017

·      $2,959 was raised PER MINUTE!

Please mark your calendar for this year’s Giving Hearts Day, It’s on February 8th.  The first $25,000 donated to Mind Shift on this day will be matched!  That means your generosity will go twice as far.

Thank you to Giving Hearts and Impact Institute teams for your hard work and commitment.  And thank you for allowing us to join the fun.

ComDel Innovation Recognizes the Value of Autism Employment

comdel.jpg

Almost a month ago Mind Shift placed its first Specialist in Wahpeton.  This is the second community in North Dakota that we now serve.  This is a great honor and privilege, and hope it’s the first of many opportunities to serve the Wahpeton/Breckenridge area.

We began working with ComDel Innovation many months ago to help them find somebody to fill a Document Coordinator role.  The team at ComDel was insightful enough to recognize that a person on the autism spectrum would have the skills and talents necessary to excel at this role.  Specifically, it was the focus, accuracy, and attention to detail found in people on the spectrum that made a partnership with Mind Shift a good business decision.

The name ComDel comes from the company’s history of committing to and delivering results to the many customers that they work with.  ComDel Innovation, with their world-class team and high-tech facility, have the capability to move ideas from product design and development to manufacturing and fulfillment. 

Mind Shift is currently recruiting for another company in the Wahpeton/Breckenridge area.  If you are somebody with autism who is looking for a meaningful career, please email us at info@mindshift.works

Or if you are a business that is looking for intelligent, talented employees who will move your business forward, do the same.  Again, that email address is info@mindshift.works.

We work every day to help high functioning adults on the autism spectrum find meaningful careers with great companies.  By partnering with outstanding businesses like ComDel Innovation, we can make this mission a reality.

Thank you ComDel.  We look forward to working with you, and changing the world with you, for many years to come.

Innovation and Hiring

shield-1020318_640.jpg

Happy New Year everybody!  Can you believe it’s 2018?  This year, our resolution is to innovate!  We want to find new and better ways to do what we do every day. We can’t do things the same old ways and expect different results.

Peter Drucker said, “if you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”  When I read this quote, I thought of the article “The Way We Hire People is Totally Insane” on the website 42hire.com. 

In the article, it is mentioned that the hiring methods of today were created for the economy and employment environment of many decades ago.

Indicators such as GPA, Degrees/Certifications held, and Years of Experience say little regarding accomplishments or performance.

Further, Interviewing Ability, Cover Letters, and Resumes don’t actually reflect workplace performance. 

The article states that this is essentially reasoning by analogy.

We see these sorts of challenges at Mind Shift.  Individuals on the autism spectrum often have difficulty with interviewing and resume writing because of the social challenges that come with the disability.  And we find indicators such as degrees and years of experience at an organization don’t always reflect the inherent ability of an individual, or how successful they will be in the workplace.

But if our hiring methods are antiquated, how do we move forward?  The article makes a few suggestions.  The best might be to spend “the time to identify what assumptions you are making about someone who possesses the required indicators, and making those assumptions more transparent and explicit.”  This act of reflection and communication could change the way we think about traditional ideas and methods, along with how we look at recruits and potential hires, which might lead to real innovation.

As William Pollard said, “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” 

Below is the link to the article:

https://42hire.com/the-way-we-hire-people-is-totally-insane-81d132235526

 

 

Neurodiversity Benefits the Entire Organization

diversity-2884313_640.jpg

At Mind Shift, we regularly speak of the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce.  We believe that the talents of individuals on the autism spectrum are numerous. 

This topic is addressed in the article “The Brand Benefits of Neurodiversity” by Charlotte Rogers, in the May 31 edition of Marketing Week Magazine. 

The article begins by reinforcing the idea that neurodiversity should be seen as existing on a spectrum.  And that individuals on this spectrum come to work with a diverse set of skills and talents, and that there are no stereotypical behaviors that will be found in every person.

We find this to be true.  We have had the opportunity to find meaningful careers for over 30 diverse and unique individuals working in areas such as high-tech manufacturing, health care, human resources, IT, document imaging, and the sciences, to name a few. 

Rogers speaks about SAP, and their Autism at Work program.  She mentions that SAP recognizes the benefits of diversity, and because of this they have 120 people with ASD working with 110 different teams.

Rogers also talks about the importance of ongoing support for both employees with ASD and their teams.  She also speaks about the importance of looking critically at an organization’s recruiting, onboarding, and training programs.  The author talks about Willis Tower Watson, an insurance broker that works to include individuals on the autism spectrum in their organization, and to train employees to look beyond the social challenges that might hold certain individuals back.

The author wraps up her article with a discussion on the business benefits of neurodiversity employment.  She mentions that individuals on the spectrum often bring creativity, persistence, loyalty, focus, and unique thinking skills that can directly benefit an organization’s profitability and reputation.

Our experiences working with both individuals on the spectrum, and with great organizations looking to leverage the benefit of autism employment find what Rogers says to be true.  There is a real value attained through autism employment, and by training and supporting teams to prioritize inclusion, the entire organization benefits.

To learn more about autism employment, and how our organization can help you do so, contact Mind Shift.  We work hard to find meaningful careers for adults on the autism spectrum.

The address to Charlotte Rogers’ article in Marketing Week is below:

https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/05/31/brand-benefits-neurodiversity/

 

 

Introducing a Spectrum of Heroes

Mind Shift has promoted hiring people with autism because of the advantage they bring to the workplace.  We are quick to mention that our Specialists have greater focus and accuracy, lower turnover rates, greater attention to detail and deviation, a high work ethic and sense of integrity.  But if this is so, why do we not see greater employment opportunities for those with autism?

If this question was asked in our offices, you might hear that common misconceptions surrounding autism prevent employers from seeing the value of the individuals. 

This misunderstanding is disappointing at best, and damaging and debilitating at worst.  But there is hope.  It is becoming common knowledge that with autism come advantages that can benefit an organization.  And recently we have begun to see more and more heroes with autism in popular culture.  It’s about time.

Here are just a few examples of heroes who save the day while also living with the challenges that come with autism:

1.      Billy, the blue Power Ranger is on the autism spectrum.

2.     Symmetra, a popular playable character in the video game Overwatch, is on the autism spectrum.

3.     “The Good Doctor” is an ABC series that tells the story of surgeon with ASD.

4.     While not specifically diagnosed, Drax the Destroyer from “Guardians of the Galaxy” has become a favorite character in the autism community.

5.     Ben Affleck, in the “R” rated movie “The Accountant”, portrays an antihero with autism (this one isn’t for the kids).

And while we have fun exploring heroics in popular culture, we need to remember the real-life heroes with autism.  Those individuals who put themselves in harm’s way to assist others, those people who act with integrity, virtue, and bravery.

Heroes such as Micah David-Cole Fletcher, who was one of three individuals who stepped in to stop a white supremacist from harassing two girls on a Portland, Oregon train.  Two of those individuals died from injuries when the harasser attacked them for stepping in.  Micah was stabbed in the neck, but survived his injuries after a two-hour surgery.  Micah acted bravely and selflessly to help two people he didn’t know.  Micah is a real-life hero. 

While it is great to see heroes with autism becoming more common in our society, we should remember that greatness does not only appear in comic books, video games and movies.  There are real life heroes on the spectrum amongst us.

Neurodiversity Leads to Innovation and Solutions

Ernst & Young's neurodiversity pilot program results in innovation and exceeded expectations! Opportunity lies with those who think differently. Thank you to our supporter, Randy, for sharing this article with Mind Shift friends and family.  Your support and good will is integral to our success.   

http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/newsletters/2017/jun/program-promoting-neurodiversity-big-four-firm.html?utm_source=mnl:cpald&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12Jun2017

 

Giving Invincibility?

It is difficult to describe the incredible feeling that you get when someone believes in you, comes alongside you and when someone invests in you. It is a powerful feeling. For me, it is the closest thing to invincibility I have ever experienced. The feeling that, with people beside me, I can do ANYTHING. Thank you for coming alongside the talented people with autism that we train, showing them that they are worth investing in, and for believing in their incredible talent and value.

135 people, 11 businesses, a Kiwanis club and a church all came together and we raised $42,426 in just ONE day!  We came together from 40 cities in 10 states and 2 countries. We came together because we believe in investing in the incredible talent and value of people on the autism spectrum.

A special thank you to the four families, that have asked to remain anonymous, that provided $16,000 in matching money to help spur us on to greater generosity.

And finally, stay tuned, because we are not yet done. The Dakota Medical Foundation and the Impact Foundation (the brains, brawn and heart behind Giving Hearts Day) provide extra grants as incentives to non-profit organizations to engage more people and do better work. And this year, thanks to all of you, we are in the running for potential additional funds! We find out in April and I promise to keep you updated!

In Gratitude,

Cortnee (for the entire Mind Shift team)

And, in case you missed it, here is the video that our Giving Hearts Day Intern, Kyle, made to help tell our story...