IDF's Cyber Defense Academy school first autistic cadets

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08 Oct 2021, 8:16 am

Jerusalem Post

With the backbone of the IDF reliant on programming, cyber and other technology, thousands of soldiers have passed through its Computing and Cyber Defense Academy, which for the first time is opening its door to troops who are on the autism spectrum.

The Ramat Gan school teaches dozens of courses related to tech needs in all parts of the military, including the C4I Directorate, Navy, Air Force, and ground forces.

There are nine cadets on the autism spectrum who will be taking the school’s cyberdefense course, an intensive program of several months.

Most of them are high-functioning autists who will be doing everything that non-autistics cadets are doing, but they will “just be getting a bit more help along the way,” Litvak said.

Every four cadets will be assigned an officer, compared with one officer for each six non-autistic cadets. They will be learning from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will have several breaks during the day to make sure they can maintain their concentration.

The cadets spent six weeks prior to the course with mentors who helped them integrate into military life and will accompany them throughout their service. During the six weeks, the mentors also met with the families of the cadets to learn about them.

Learning at the school is not easy. The intensive courses last between 15 to 20 weeks, and non-autistic cadets learn from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

But, unlike other schools, more than 50% of the course allows cadets to learn on their own by using videos, podcasts or other means.

“We know today that everyone learns differently,” Litvak said. “Some need to have a teacher, some need more one-on-one learning, and some need other ways that work best for them.”

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman

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08 Oct 2021, 10:51 am

Surely it should say "...troops who are known to be on the autism spectrum".

It seems that some High Functioning Autistics might not be identified and could be troops who were Autistic even though no one (not even they themselves) knew it.

When diagnosed I bought champagne!
I finally knew why people were strange.