Will it be “Hunger Games” for our kids as adults, or can we bend the future? After an unsuccessful interview with Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), which is supposed to help find work for disabled adults, my son Ben tore up his Jobs People Do book. Today as a 24-year-old adult he’s stuck in dayhab. His eyes still ask, “Please unlock the door. Please open the future.”
Autism Trust USA, in conjunction with Autism Trust (UK) and An Independent me (AIM), is planning to do just that.
On April 22, young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder will serve lunch to guests at the Spider House Café in Austin, Texas as part of an international ‘Give Autism a Chance’ campaign. The goal: to prove that they can live productive lives and work within a wide range of professional capacities. DARS will be there watching, and so will ASD-friendly employers in Texas and beyond.
Gary Moore, co-founder of nonPareil Institute in Dallas, tells a story of unlocked talents and newly-opened doors. “Our student instructor is on the spectrum,” he says. “Until we trained and hired her, she was throwing newspapers. Now she’s heading a team that creates and sells apps on iTunes. All our kids with ASD have hidden skills and talents. But most employers can’t see past the autism. They haven’t figured out how to identify and take advantage of their gifts. We’ve got to change that.”
Gary has been invited to attend our “Give Autism A Chance” event at Spider House Café in Austin, on April 22, from noon to 3:00 pm. See photos of this funky, iconic Austin restaurant at Spider House Cafe.
Kids are welcome. Will you come? Please connect with us at http://www.facebook.com/AutismTrust.USA and www.facebook.com/GiveAutismaChance. Sign up for a time slot at www.giveautismachance.eventbrite.com Let’s rock the future and bend the curve of history away from “Hunger Games” toward a fulfilling life for our kids.
Dan E. Burns, Ph.D., is the father of a 24-year-old son on the autism spectrum and the author of Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism. Dr. Burns is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism and is Adult Issues Liaison for AutismOne. He chairs The Autism Trust USA, (www.theautismtrustusa.org), a 501(c)3 charity focused on empowering parents to organize communities where their ASD children and others can live and work, enjoy life, continue to heal, and give back to society.