ND FRIENDS IS SAFE
Founder, Neurodiversity Foundation Solution Architect, NDFriends
Shawn Fry the creator and solution architect for ND Friends is autistic himself!
"I understand the need for NDFriends - because I was basically an outcast for most of my early life. I was very awkward, easily overwhelmed by sensory issues and poor social skills so, I really struggled fitting in with people (and I found that many people were not authentic and/or accepting of my differences) I wish a platform like this existed when I was younger.
I spent my time reading books and learning how computer systems truly work (even more than what you would think), and seeing ways that technology could be applied to change the world that seemed obvious to me but possibly overlooked by the vast majority of people. I have been frequently evaluated since I was a child because I have a very high intellect in certain areas, yet there were processing gaps and some very basic social and life skills were absent. It made school, making friends, understanding directions, and meeting common expectations very difficult. I was also extremely naïve to sarcasm and deception as my mental processing had significant “blind spots, early on” yet I was capable of more advanced work in complex subject matters than many higher educated individuals. There was no diagnosis of Asperger’s or ASD in the late ’60s or ’70s, so I felt there was no other option but to assimilate without any guidance.
I founded the Neurodiversity Foundation to build a path for others on the spectrum to recognize their ability alongside creating technology platforms where we can connect with others who understand us and allow for authentic thinking and being.
We are a nonprofit built and run by the neurodiverse, for the neurodiverse to promote a “Strengths First” mentality instead of cataloging us by deficits. I seek to change the core of the narrative and provide autistic advocates the ability to speak from their experience and provide better pathways for others. We are redefining a highly stigmatized narrative by reframing misconceptions around autism, challenging inaccurately forecasted “outcomes” that harm a child’s self-efficacy. Our projects are evaluated through a lens of empowerment. Our approach enables individuals to feel proud of their identity rather than be limited by it.
I have dedicated my life to embracing neurodiversity and the powers it unlocks through thought leadership, personal security, and self-esteem in one’s uniqueness."
Shawn is the Founder and Chief Science Officer of the Neurodiversity Foundation and has almost 30 years of experience in developing and managing security data infrastructure. Mr. Fry is most known for building and running his own private data analytics company (Prevalent Health) that managed both secure financial and healthcare information for over 50 million Americans. The success of that company led to him successfully selling it to private equity in 2019. He is also a former Chief Information Officer and Compliance Officer at 3 different hospital systems and still actively consults to this day. Prior to his tenure as an executive in healthcare he worked for a private security technology company and developed several patented as well as classified security technologies that provide the highest level of security available in the storage and transmission of data.