WebTeam Corporation Pioneers Entrepreneurship Program for High-Functioning Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

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Somerset-based app development company WebTeam Corporation has started a new entrepreneurship program, fueled by the creativity of people living with high-functioning autism to promote financial independence.

Kate Gladstone of the ASA Program Committee

Kate Gladstone: Working up awareness about financial independence for individuals with autism.

I’m pleased and honored by the Autism Society of America’s attention to the work that we have been doing at WebTeam Corporation regarding cursive handwriting.

The story started last year in San Diego, at the annual conference of the Autism Society of America (ASA). There, WebTeam CEO Nish Parikh— who is also the Vice President of staffing firm Rangam Consultants, Inc. — met Kate Gladstone (a handwriting expert and autism activist who serves on the Autism Society of America Program Committee) and her husband Andrew Haber (a retired attorney who is Kate's business manager). Parikh was astonished by the intelligence, entrepreneurial qualities, and subject matter expertise of Ms. Gladstone — he was even more surprised to learn that both Kate and her husband have Asperger's Syndrome, a subtype of autism. Within months, WebTeam started working with Kate, developing an app called Read Cursive. As the name suggests, Read Cursive was developed to help small children (and others) learn to recognize cursive letters and read cursive handwriting. A source within WebTeam revealed that Read Cursive will soon make its public debut.

“I’m pleased and honored by the Autism Society of America’s attention to the work that we have been doing at WebTeam Corporation regarding cursive handwriting,” Kate Gladstone acknowledged.

“Working closely with the autism community for the last seven years, we have experienced great intelligence, creativity, knowledge, and passion about innovation. The response that we have been receiving has inspired us to work with individuals on the high end of the spectrum. We will act as a liaison, partner and mentor to help grow their business ideas. We will sponsor the technology development initiative, and will bear the development cost for the sponsored venture,” Parikh added.

“We would like to thank the Autism Society of America for organizing such a great event where WebTeam representatives could meet so many individuals under one roof. We looked around and admired their creative and entrepreneurship spirit,” the WebTeam CEO added. Productive contacts between ASA and WebTeam continue as Parikh, together with several other iLearnNEarn members, attended this year’s Autism Society of America's conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Further thoughts were voiced by WebTeam Software Developer Sahil Kapoor: “Our goal is to connect these people to the world, and help them get introduced to the broader spectrum of things. We do have an app for almost every challenge autism presents – be it cognitive impairment or language deficiency. Just a little help can do a world of good to these people who are perfectly capable of earning respect and recognition from the society that often sneers at them. We see it as a great opportunity where we can utilize our technology to give voice to their passion and intellectual creativity.”

The entrepreneurship model is in harmony with the growing trend of advancing employment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Parikh, who already heads a temp employment firm, has now set eyes on creating new business opportunities for the autistic population, with hopes of helping this community attain financial independence. This idea of entrepreneurship for individuals on the Autism spectrum was inspired from the NJIT Albert Dorman Honors College’s Interdisciplinary Design Studio (IDS) program. Parikh, who is on an advisory committee and is mentoring a group of students developing technology to teach children with Autism using a toy model.

Those participating in the WebTeam-sponsored curriculum development initiative will be the numerous adults on what is often called the "high-functioning" end of the spectrum; those with adequate or above-adequate ability to perform basic day-to-day tasks such as communicating with others, responding to verbal and non-verbal stimuli, and sharing and developing their own ideas. As Kate Gladstone notes, "Too many people on the autism spectrum have been written off as unemployable or as ‘low-functioning’ individuals suitable only for work that required hardly any intelligence or insight. As the world learns more about autism, employers and others are discovering and utilizing the many ways that we — their autistic fellow-citizens — can and do develop, contribute, and achieve.”

About WebTeam Corporation

Founded in 2006, WebTeam Corporation (WTC) is a subsidiary of Rangam Consultants, Inc based in Somerset, New Jersey has 50 full-time offshore employees to develop technologies that ensure better healthcare and education for the special needs community worldwide. WTC specializes in the kiosk-based Colors Program and the app-based iLearnNEarn program that are specially designed to facilitate data collection for evidence-based autism intervention. With a repertoire of 150+ apps on iTunes, Android, Nook, and Kindle, WebTeam is now working on developing two fully fledged curriculum-based programs, viz. iLearnNEarn2 for Infants & Toddlers and iLearnNEarn2 for Adults.

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