Jobs and Autism

I posted a story on the Simple. I Just Do facebook page yesterday about a carwash in Florida that was developed to run entirely with autistic employees, (and was started by a family with an autistic son, no less).  And I encountered a staggering statistic – an unemployment rate of 90% for those with autism.

Food Barn pin from first paycheck job. / c. 1989 - Nate Hofer

Food Barn Pin – Nate Hofer

That is a very scary number.

The article by Doreen Hemlock of the Broward County Sun-Sentinel quoted Michael Alessandri, director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Diseases, as saying, “Most people with autism can work. They can be very successful when given the right support. There just aren’t enough job opportunities with the right support system.”

The Man and I have discussed starting our own business a great deal.  Part of that, I think a large part of it, is that if we are the owners, we can create our own opportunities for The Boy to be employed.  And just like many, many families with autistic kids are turning to homeschooling so that they can tailor their child’s education according to his/her individualized needs, I think many, many families have or will turn to entrepreneurship for the same reason.

I love it.

I am so inspired by all of this.  The world isn’t ready for this influx of people with autism?  Well, let’s make it ready, one kid, one family, one family-owned business at a time.  Bring it.

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