nfpNexus’ Spectrum Innovates Collaborates with Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology to Participate in STEMconnector’s Inaugural National Day of Design™ Challenge

by STEMconnector

Spectrum Innovates has assembles a neuro-diverse team featuring autistic high school-aged students to participate in STEMConnector’s inaugural national event.

FLUSHING, N.Y.Sept. 27, 2017 (PRNewswire) | nfpNEXUSSpectrum Innovates has created a neuro-diverse team of participants for this inaugural national event. The team consists of five high school-aged students on the autism spectrum (alumni of their “Maker” workshops), two students from a NYC independent school and three students from NEXUS’ partner in the event, Vaughn College. Vaughn is hosting the team and providing access to their amazing facilities for robotics, fabrication and 3D printing. Event to be held October 1st, 2017.

Day of Design™ is a national movement that teaches creative problem solving across the entire student pipeline, K-12 and collegiate. The aim is to eliminate the STEM gap by teaching students how to be innovators and create change in their own communities. Global business leaders see these skills as highly valuable for the future of innovation. STEMconnector® is engaging teachers and students in design challenge activities leading up to Day of Design Live event October 6th. Spectrum Innovates has chosen a very timely topic for the Challenge – Design and rapid-prototype a pet rescue device that can be used in a natural disaster. The Challenge has no accommodation for autistic participants and is sure to push the skills and creativity of the team.

In conjunction with the announcement, nfpNEXUS founder Bob Simpson said, “We need to give them the best shot of achieving their goals in life and that means opening doors and letting them discover their own potential. That’s why it is incredibly important that autistic individuals, especially young people about to leave high school, are given the opportunity to participate in this kind of event. There is no limit to their ingenuity, creativity or passion, and that’s what this event is about when you come down to it. They frequently have great ideas and insights that differ from those of neurotypicals. The facilitators are practically breathless in anticipation of the Challenge results!”

About us: The mission of nfpNEXUS, Inc. is to maximize the potential of autistic individuals through innovative programs and initiatives. Spectrum Innovates is nfpNEXUS’s first transition initiative. It represents a groundbreaking approach to transition for the autistic community by upending the historical paradigm that attempts to shape autistics in a neurotypical mold. By building upon the evolution of successful transition programs, Spectrum Innovates extends these efforts by incorporating the process of creation and innovation, transcending deficits through passion. In concert with its innovation lab and experiential learning process, participants in the program receive not only the requisite life skills for independent living, but also skills in advocacy, stewardship, empathy, and negotiation.