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Lessons Learned from Failure.

Autism Friendly BusinessBy Tim Welsh

One of the most difficult things I think for people to do is analyze and come clean publicly when it comes to failure. I had two major failures that I will be putting to bed in 2014. I had great intentions, great plans, and most of the people involved were angels. Although there  was one major of devil. I am not sure if it is because I am so passionate to move mountains that sometimes I trust the wrong people. In this blog I will review the two projects and hopefully we can learn some lessons together.

The first project was Autism Friendly Business. This for profit venture was put together to teach businesses how to deal with the many new customer service situations arising from the aging of the population dealing with Autism. We provided an assessment of a businesses knowledge about ASD, provided recognition, tools and marketing to raise their level of service for those on the spectrum, those with special needs and all customers. We tried numerous levels of membership but ultimately the business climate was such that very few progressive forward looking entities took advantage of our services.

We actively supported with social media those businesses that expressed  a desire to learn and Autism Aidgrow with us. We were able to get a number of sign ups from very small to mega corporations. Of course, doing a start up with next to no operating capital and a team spread coast to coast is a little crazy. All of us dealing with loved ones on the spectrum, loss of jobs, injuries to spouses, elderly parents and much more. Bottom line this model was ahead of its time and it's time may never come. I would love to visit with anybody thinking that they can set up a for profit in this sector. Attacks came from many naysayers and individuals who I assumed would be supportive. You learn a lot about the psychology of your peers when you try to make a living here.

The second project was AutismAid. This Non Profit was a dream of mine to unite all the service Autism Non Governmental organizations in an umbrella organization that provided  backbone back room support to all doing such valiant work in the field. These organizations are working so hard for our loved ones. I hoped to piggyback off the success of winning a number of Pepsi refresh grants and Toyota cars for good.  Also the working with Samsung and the Dan Marino Foundation was very rewarding.

I am very proud of the fact we were able to bring together, even if it was only for a moment 13 non profits. I found red tape, politics and evil people abound. In hindsight, many armchair quarterbacks said they could see the writing on the wall. One individual who promised us the world did not deliver and almost ruined the lives of a few dedicated individuals who gave the project their all for a couple of years. None of us getting even reimbursed for our expenses.

As I close the door on these two ventures, I want to say how thankful and proud of those I served with. I know some of us are now separated by time and miles but I will forever be your friend and be I your debt for helping me chase my dream. Unity within the Autism Community. Secondly I want to say thank you to the hero leaders and unsung volunteers who work around the clock to help our families.

Some of those amazing service organizations operate on shoestring budgets and yet still find it in their heart to help maintain Age of Autism. I beg you to support Generation Rescue, Safe Minds,  National Autism Association, and The Canary Party  in the amazing work  they do. When you get a chance tell their leadership and Executive Directors thank you, say a prayer and donate if you can.

Thank you again for letting me take this walk of shame with dignity.  I tried. I was taught when you fall down, to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, turn yourself around and do it again. So with these experiences under my belt, and lessons learned look for the next run at getting services our loved ones need. I do know that next time I will be running with the support and supporting those battlefield tested teams that make it happen everyday. God Bless.


Tim Welsher TannerTim Welsh, is one of the most active and influential Parent Advocates for Autism. Avid Speaker, blogger, and Tweeter (@TannersDad). Tim works to build unity within the Autism community, Gain Insurance coverage reform, End Restraint & Seclusion, Advocate for services, prevent wandering and much more. Tim & his wife Cheri have one son Tanner (16).

Favorite tweet…
“I have a son he has autism, but, I also have dream. I dare dream of a world where profound regressive autism is not only treatable, but is also preventable”



Comments

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Cherry Sperlin Misra

Friends, How rare it is to find someone who can admit to problems and failure and disappointments. I know I cant do it. One thing I know Tim- Youre a great writer. Your account of little Tanner, many years ago was one of the motivating things for my getting into this fight. (I dont have an autistic child, but I frequently see them in my school) And for the children and for people like you I shall never leave this fight. Today my daughter was telling me about all the wonderful things I am missing . I dont reply to things like this, because I think people will not understand. But I thought later, One day I will say to my daughter, "You dont realize it, but to me you are one of the people who stood and watched the railway cars taking Jews to the death camps. You dont mean to be like that, Its just that you dont understand"
We have to keep trying Tim. This is our life.

nhokkanen

“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
- Saint Augustine

Some people in our community have settled into negativity because they are exhausted and need a fresh infusion of hope. If only our neurotypical family and friends and the larger community could be motivated to help... perhaps the key is to quantify manageable tasks that fit within their schedules, budgets and energy levels.

Keep fighting the good fight, Tim. Thanks for all you do.

Bob Moffitt

"I tried. I was taught when you fall down, to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, turn yourself around and do it again."

Tim .. I would like to think that Edgar Guest wrote this poem with you mind when he wrote it:

Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Carolyn

Tim,

Thank you for your tireless efforts. Until the autism community does step back and see they are not a true community in a sense, we will not be able to meet the diverse needs of it. No arm chair quarter backing here either, I've now given almost fifteen years to this as have many others via volunteerism through a variety of organizations while working and doing what is needed to meet the needs of our own children.

I can now say that volunteerism sucks....sorry but it is the truth. We did so because we thought we could effect systems change and ensure not only our son's safe future, but those of others as well. We had many successes and are very grateful for all the support and collaboration that took place. However a career was lost, our personal savings depleted, our health suffered,and I can honestly say that some of these organizations that were suppose to be there to assist, have actually started to chip away at the foundation that so many fought decades to build. The question is for what and why? You really just have to look at the leadership and where funds have gone to know those answers. There are people, including parents unfortunately, that were and are in this for profit, not principle and to obtain what was needed by our community.

Please however don't lose hope nor stop your efforts. We've not and will continue to move forward to do what needs to be done, especially today as many of us are praying and anticipating the outcome of the current circumstances involving Avonte's disappearance and a turn in the investigation.

Tim your efforts have always be so appreciated and folks please think about what you feel we can do. Support those that Tim has indicated and the others that are really there day in and day out and you can depend on. We need more of it, but we need too to show these things cannot be achieve only by us. We need to have a stronger expectation that our government has a responsibility and needs to step up to the plate. Reorganizing the IACC is the first step and utilizing the GAO report as the means will be the first step.

I do hope that we can come together to do this minimally.

Thank you,
Carolyn

Autism United

Tim, I would like to thank you for your hard work. Sorry you didn't reach your goal but I would keep on trying. With the numbers growing yearly and individuals needing good quality sites to come and learn about Autism. We pop in often to follow what is happening and gain insight to help others.
Parent's need online help when dealing with their autistic children (I feel), makes us feel not so alone. We aren't fighting the battles alone.

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