Adults who are on the autism spectrum will have the chance to participate in an internship program designed to help them succeed in the tech field thanks to a $2.6 million grant given to a team of researchers from the University of California San Diego.
The Power of NeuroGaming Center Summer Internship, or PoNG, is an 8-week program that will combine digital arts, neuroscience, cognitive science and education to develop interactive video games and tools. The program is seeking 25 individuals who will work with coaches and clients during the internship.
“We’re trying to create an environment where young adults with different ways of interacting can interact, practically, functionally, and show that they have these skills,” said Leanne Chukoskie, Assistant Research Scientist at Qualcomm Institute.
Autism spectrum disorder is a common disorder that can affect social skills, communication and behavior. PoNG aims to help individuals on the spectrum strengthen their skills in technology so they could get a career in the field.
“I think there’s a lot of mistaken information out there about the autism spectrum, and yes, a lot of people are introverted, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to or can’t work with other people,” Chukoskie said. “It’s just that in the loud interactions that we normally have, or a lot of the extroverted world expects, is different.
Interns who complete the program will be given a stipend and real-world experience.
The deadline for PoNG is March 15. Anyone who is interested in applying for the program can click here.