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Car Wash Employs People with Autism

JobNOTE: Here's a glimpse of what can happen when stakeholders - family - put their minds to the successful futures of their loved ones with autism. You'll stumble on one of the sentences for sure, I did. "We can employ about 50% of the autism spectrum..." That means the higher/highest functioning. It bursts many bubbles - certainly here in my household. My girls are not in that part of the spectrum. But I learned a saying long ago - "Don't punish progress," and I can't make life better for my girls by complaining about something that might be out of their reach yet a Godsend to YOUR family. Hey, we have bikini car washes, right? Why not an autism car wash?

Read the full story and watch a video at HuffPo.

When John and Tom D’Eri realized their autistic family member ― John’s son and Tom’s brother, Andrew ― would soon age out of the school system at 22 and have no job prospects, they decided to do something about it. Inspired by Andrew, the father-son duo founded Rising Tide Car Wash, a business that hires individuals across the autism spectrum and teaches them job skills to help put them on a path toward independent living ― and it’s making a world of difference in its Florida community.

Nearly 100 associates with autism are employed by Rising Tide. “People with autism are great at detail-oriented process-driven tasks. They excel at them,” Tom says. “In fact, they’re better than most.”

It’s a message that the D’Eri family is eager to spread.

“As a society, we look at autism as a disability that requires sympathy instead of a potentially really valuable diversity,” Tom says. “We decided we wanted to build something that could not only empower people with autism, but also could explain that message that people with autism are really capable [and] can be huge assets to a lot of different businesses.”

Rising Tide Car Wash, Tom continues, can employ about 50 percent of the autism spectrum. “There’s a wide range of people with autism that can be successful here,” he says.


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