TKU was founded by Beth Rosenberg, an adjunct faculty member in NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Integrated Digital Media Program, and her son, Jack, to teach 21st-century tech skills to young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), learning and emotional disabilities, processing problems, and other such issues.
Many youth with ASD intuitively understand technology; computer code is predictable, rote, and follows a set of finite rules, which make them comfortable. Additionally, many of these students are not given the opportunity to further their interest in computer science during the school week because they are inundated with occupational therapy, physical therapy, tutoring, social work appointments, and other needed services.
The RISE Award will fund TKU’s newest initiative, the T3 (‘Tech.Teen.Team.’) Digital Agency, which will provide a channel for teens with ASD to undertake commissioned projects such as websites and apps for real clients.
As members of T3, the teens will learn computational thinking, expand their creativity, and obtain meaningful work experience that could lead to internships and, eventually, jobs.
That goal is particularly important in light of the fact that in the United States, 500,000 teens with ASD will reach adulthood over the next decade, and 90 per cent of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed.
TKU, which is based at the Tandon School of Engineering and includes faculty and students of the Tich School of the Arts and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, is part of NYU’s Ability Project, which fosters collaboration between individuals with disabilities, engineers, designers, educators, and speech and occupational therapists, with the goal of developing adaptive and assistive technologies.
We at Tandon are tremendously proud of our partnership with Tech Kids Unlimited. Beth Rosenberg’s program is a vital component of our culture of inclusion and public service at Tandon, and our students gain tremendous experience from interacting with her students. TKU is a life-changing program for kids who learn differently, and we share in celebrating their success.
Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan said.