Elected officials join Spectrum Designs Foundation to raise new neurodiversity flag to promote acceptance and inclusion

Elected officials join Spectrum Designs Foundation to raise new neurodiversity flag to promote acceptance and inclusion
The neurodiversity flag designed by Josh Mirsky flies at Spectrum Designs. (Photo courtesy of Spectrum Designs Foundation)

Spectrum Designs Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum, raised the new neurodiversity flag at their headquarters at 366 Main Street.

The event was attended by North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, District 6 Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte, Mario Ferone representing Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti’s office, Robert Zimmerman and Port Washington Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Greco Cohen.

The flag, created by Spectrum employee Josh Mirsky, lead production assistant, will serve as a symbol of acceptance and inclusion for people on the autism spectrum and other neurological differences. Mirsky is also an appointed member of the State’s Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board.

“We are so proud of Josh and his advocacy work outside of his job at Spectrum,” Patrick Bardsley, CEO and co-founder of Spectrum Designs, said. “At Spectrum Designs, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to thrive in the workplace, regardless of their neurological differences. By raising this flag, surrounded by elected officials, community members and supporters, we hope to inspire others to join Josh and all of us in promoting acceptance and inclusion for all.”

The neurodiversity movement seeks to celebrate the diversity of neurological differences, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia and others.

Rather than focusing on the deficits associated with these conditions, the movement emphasizes the strengths and unique perspectives that neurodivergent individuals bring to society.

“For far too long, neurodiverse people have fought insurmountable waves of intolerance and societal prejudices. For too long, we have felt alone. Not anymore,” Mirsky said.

Upon describing his design, he explained, “In gold we see first place. In red, we see power. In the diamond, we see value. We have always known our value and now the world will as well.”

Josh Mirsky receives awards for his flag design. (Photo courtesy of Spectrum Designs Foundation)

Mirsky’s winning design was the result of a contest held by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Senate Bill S5169 sponsored by Senator John W. Mannion (D-Geddes), would establish it, awaiting recognition, as the official state flag for raising awareness of neurodiversity.

Currently, this very symbolic flag was recently passed by the Senate Committee, “a massive win for the neurodivergent people,” emphasized Mirsky.

The raising of the new neurodiversity flag is just one of the many ways that Spectrum Designs is working to create a more inclusive society for neurodivergent individuals.

Through their customized apparel and promotional products, Spectrum Designs integrates neurodiverse employees into all aspects of production.

Now in its 12th year, with multiple locations and almost 50 employees on the autism spectrum, Spectrum Designs understands that for any grassroots movement to grow, the support of the local community is paramount.

“On behalf of the Town of North Hempstead, we congratulate Josh and recognize all his efforts and accomplishments. This new neurodiversity flag is just one of them and we are proud to have Josh in this community,” DeSena, North Hempstead Town Supervisor, said.

About Spectrum Designs Foundation:

Spectrum Designs Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to creating job opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities.

The enterprises include Spectrum Designs, a custom apparel printer and promotional products distributor, and Spectrum Suds, a boutique laundromat and dry cleaning service.

Over half of Spectrum Designs Foundation’s workforce has a developmental disability and is one of New York’s largest employers of its kind.

Charity Navigator lists Spectrum as a four-star charity, and the organization has earned Guidestar’s ‘Platinum’ status. It is also a SEWF verified social enterprise, recognized by Social Enterprise World Forum, a leader in growing the social enterprise movement globally.

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