The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, engineering technologies and transforming the workplace – inspired by neurodiversity, at the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering brings engineers, business scholars, and disabilities researchers together with experts in neuroscience and education to understand, maximize, and promote neurodiverse talent. From a strengths-based – as opposed to deficit-based – understanding of autism and neurodiversity, the Center sees opportunities for innovation in technology and in workplace practices.
Primary areas of focus for the Frist Center’s work include:
- inventing and commercializing new technologies that enable autistic and other neurodiverse people to gain employment, succeed at work, and achieve their full potential;
- studying and understanding neurodiverse capabilities, and inventing and commercializing algorithms and systems that are inspired by those capabilities;
- developing policies, tools, trainings, and workplace practices that recognize and enlist neurodiverse people and talents in the workforce;
- demonstrating, documenting, and disseminating a community-based approach—including employers, self-advocates, researchers, policy makers, agencies, and organizations—to simultaneously enhance the bottom line for business and the quality of life for autistic individuals.
The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation contributes to the school’s Inclusion EngineeringSM mission through research in neurodiversity, workplace practices, and related areas.