Autism training program at Aspiritech Software giant SAP yesterday announced a new employment push to hire more people with autism after a successful pilot program showed increases in office productivity and cohesiveness.

Six workers on the autism spectrum hired as software testers in India had a positive impact in those key areas, and also provided empowerment for the employees to excel in their areas of strength.

Sensing a potential competitive advantage to leveraging the unique talents of people with autism, SAP will also be placing them as programmers and data quality assurance specialists.

“Only by employing people who think differently will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century,” said Luisa Delgado, member of the Executive Board of SAP AG, Human Resources. “We share a common belief that innovation comes from the ‘edges.’”

 A pilot in Ireland is currently completing the screening phase for five positions to be filled this year and SAP will spread the program globally, starting this year in the U.S., Canada and Germany.

SAP is working with Specialisterne, an international company specializing in harnessing the talents of people with autism to work in technology-oriented jobs such as software testing, programming and data management. As part of the partnership, Specialisterne will extend its operations to support SAP’s global expansion of the program over the next several years.

SAP Labs in India recently developed a consumer iPad application called “Bol” to assist with the education of children with autism, helping them comprehend simple, everyday objects and processes, using auditory, visual and instant feedback functions.

Experts estimate that one percent of the world’s population is affected the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Thanks to Robert Hall for sending an Industry Week article)

RELATED: Autistic Adults Prove Valuable as Software Testers (w/ Video, Oct. 2011)

AND: More GNN stories on Autism HERE

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