TEDx Talk highlights Frist Center for Autism and Innovation work


This past November, Frist Center for Autism and Innovation communications coordinator Claire Barnett spoke at TEDxVanderbilt about autistic employment.

Her talk, titled “Why autistic unemployment is so high – and what we can do about it,” explores several reasons that autistic adults struggle to obtain meaningful work. Barnett also discusses the steps that both businesses and individuals can take to promote inclusion of people with autism in the workforce.

The Frist Center’s “Nashville Model” is featured in the talk, as well as the Center’s partnership with global professional services firm Ernst and Young (EY).

To view the talk, click here or see the video below.

The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation works to understand, maximize and promote neurodiverse talent. The center’s formal opening was celebrated in July 2019.

The center combines academic research, commercial R&D and business innovations to identify and understand the capabilities of individuals with autism and to enhance the 21st-century workforce through engagement of autistic talent. Vanderbilt engineers, scientists and business scholars, together with autism experts in the clinical and vocational domains, will work with major Nashville employers and national autism organizations to:

  • invent and commercialize new technologies;
  • advance understanding of neurodiverse capabilities related to employment; and
  • disseminate a community-based approach to enhance the bottom line for business and improve quality of life for individuals with autism.