01 2015 - Rise of the ATHENS Initiative

Core statement of the Assistive Tech Hub Enhancing a Neurodiverse Society (ATHENS Initiative): The problem is not solved by doing nothing. *

The plan we enact has three phases:

  • 1. Build something that works to solve* the problem of neurodiverse translation.
  • 2. Distribute the system to facilitate conversations of 10.000 dutch autistics, in Dutch language & English translated via Signs.
  • 3. Scale up to a global service to support access to the tools for 10 million neurodivergents, in most languages and cross languages**

* Solving means: campaigning for awareness is nice, but not enough to actually solve the problem. Acceptance alone, is not enough. Appreciation alone, is not enough. We need to actually forge a product that reduces the communication issues for autistics, and our best shot at this, is a technical solution, that can be scaled and used by autistics for all nations. To be effective, the research of phase 1, remains in  english and dutch.

** We are a idealistic initiative, by neurodivergents, for neurodivergents, supporting neurodiverse teams; therefore we aim to make it free for all autistics unable to contribute financially; because solving the problem, does not mean only solving it for ‘rich folks’. The goals of the ATHENS Initiative are non-financial, and focussed on the impact goals as stated.


Founding partners of the ATHENS Initiative

For the initiative to be effective, we need a long-term approach with a ‘research-centre’ and a ‘product-building-centre’.


  • Neurodiversity Foundation is founded to do all the research, cooperate with partners, and support the societal change to acceptance, appreciation and inclusion.
  • 2Tango, as a social impact company, will dedicate itself* to creating the products that solve the problem in neurodiverse translation, and support the builds of tools that can help autistics thrive in live.


ATHENS Initiative is offically starting in 2018, but it has been a project in the making since the very start of all we do.

*  85% of 2Tango’s resources and worktime is used for autism-centered support tools like Signs, Work & Mini.ai. The remaining 15% is used for the Together project, including testing of concepts via events.