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Initiative Empowers Autistic Soldiers

September 9, 2015
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The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is one of the only militaries in the world that successfully integrates soldiers on the autism spectrum. When it comes to integrating people with disabilities into the IDF, “we open more and more doors,” says Lt. Col. Rosenfeld, Commander of the Online Recruitment Bureau.

The initiative to empower autistic soldiers began with T., a combat veteran in the IDF who was determined to help an old friend from the army whose two sons have autism. The problem, according to T., is that individuals with autism often face challenges later in life as adults. He explains that whereas “most young people go to college or the military, young people on the autism spectrum stay home,” and have a smaller variety of future prospects. With this reality in mind, T. set out to create a program that would integrate people on the autism spectrum into the military.

T. presented his idea to the IDF and thus the incredible vision became a reality in 2013 when, with the help of the Ono Academic College, the IDF launched a revolutionary course with 12 participants. Throughout the program, the students proved their excellence and determination, and even managed to complete their coursework in less time than expected.

Roim Rachok (Watching the Horizon), is the first program in the world that trains people on the autism spectrum to interpret and decode satellite images. This allows them to put their unique analytical skills, memory and meticulousness to practice.

Source: Excerpts of article by Israel Defense Forces

Photo Credit: www.idfblog.com

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