Talos Foundation raises awareness of neurodiversity and invisible disabilities to help change mindsets in Hong Kong and Asia. As a Section 88 Charitable Organization in Hong Kong, Talos distributes free bilingual lanyards and buttons to people who wish to self identify, their families and caregivers, as well as the business community. In addition, Talos provides education and training to the public as well as to employers to enhance awareness and inclusivity.
How we started
Talos Foundation was founded in honour of Alexander Talos Schaus, born in Hong Kong. Alex was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old, and is a “non-speaking” person, which means his verbal expression is more limited and different from a “neurotypical” person.
Doctors told Alex’s parents he needed 20-40 hours a week of therapy, and when they explored options were told by the insurance companies in Hong Kong, “we don’t cover therapy for people with autism or intellectual disabilities” and by the public system, “your son will receive one hour of therapy per year.”
Thankfully Alex’s family didn’t listen and decided to help Alex lead his best life, which he does on a daily basis.
It became quickly apparent through Alex’s journey that society may not understand the nature of neurodiversity, and that this may be part of the reason neurodivergent people may not receive the help or opportunities they have a right to. Like many neurodivergent people and others with special needs, Alex was treated with disrespect, anger and was bullied for behaviours (verbal stimming, tapping, fidgeting and singing, among others) that some neurotypical people do not understand.
In a specific case, Alex was denied the ability to use the only bathroom available, a disabled bathroom, because he didn’t “look disabled” and wet himself due to denial of access, because the person holding the keys to the bathroom didn’t understand that disabilities and differences may not be visible.
The problems of lack of awareness and lack of inclusion creates a more destructive cycle of stress, mental and physical health challenges for neurodivergent people and their caregivers and an unemployed or underemployed population of people, leading to greater costs to governments and society as a whole.
Talos Foundation’s three pillared approach of community awareness, corporate awareness and employment normalization aims to inspire change.
Mary Totin Schaus
Qualified as a lawyer in the US in 2002 (currently not practicing) and moved to Hong Kong in 2004 from Virginia, USA, embarking on a related career of human resources in the legal industry, where she has led the functions in Asia for two of the most prestigious law firms in the world
In Hong Kong since 2002 and originally from New Hampshire, USA, he served in the United States Navy and is the founder of a successful group of companies in Asia in the maritime, manufacturing, technology and e-learning industries
Our Working Board
Partner with us
The Talos Foundation is thrilled to partner with local businesses, schools, superhero volunteers and NGOs who will have a supply of lanyards and stickers, free of charge, at their locations for pickup.