Career Opportunities

nonPareil Institute

nonPareil Institute

As we’ve discussed here before, there is a growing amount of support and programs for the autism community, mainly for those that are school-aged, which is a wonderful thing. Expanding awareness is having a great impact. However, what we’re seeing is that as our school-aged kids grow up and become adults, there is almost a complete drop-off of funding/programs/schooling/etc. available to them.

This is now starting to change, again, thanks to awareness. Many of those touched by autism have a lot to offer, particularly in terms of a job. The problem sometimes, though, is that first step of securing a job, due to difficulties with social and/or communication skills. Hoping to help secure more jobs for people with autism by tapping into strengths, there seems to be an emerging trend of the tech industry seeking out those with autism.

One recent example is SAP, a global tech company, who announced a plan to seek out people with autism and hire them as software testers, programmers and data quality assurance specialists. As noted in this article, they partnered with Specialisterne, a global job placement agency for those with autism, and said they may hire hundreds worldwide.

Some other interesting job opportunities/agencies worth noting:

  • ASTEP (Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership) – this is an agency that creates and supports programs that promote long-term employment for people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism.
  • Aspiritech – a Chicago-based software testing service that only hires people with autism.
  • nonPareil Institute – a Texas-based program that is dedicated to providing technical training, employment and housing to those with autism.

We’ll keep sharing additional career programs/ opportunities here because this is an important and much-needed focus for the autism community.


Lynsey, Community Manager

Stripes at CMA

Stripes

For those of you in the NYC area, you may already be familiar with the Children’s Museum of Art (CMA). It’s a hands-on art museum dedicated to engaging young artists in various programs and self-guided art exploration.  It has a big gallery, media lab, ball pond and other features to introduce and involve children in the arts.

For those of you that may be close by to the museum, you should check into a great program they have called Stripes. Stripes offers a free opportunity for autistic children and their families to engage in visual art making, creative performing experiences and imaginative play. There are two Stripes classes—“Stripes I” focuses on tactile experiences and building creativity and communication skills involving various mediums such as music, movement and yoga. “Stripes II” focuses on using art to build social skills and peer-to-peer relationships and incorporates CMA’s Media Lab and Sound Booth.

Art—particularly creating art—whether it’s music, painting, crafts, etc. is a great way to further enhance skills such as self-expression.  We’ll have to check around for more programs like this one so we can share those with you here.

Lynsey, Community Manager 

Summer Camps

Central PA Easter Seals

Central PA Easter Seals

Summer is just about here, and that may mean your children will soon have a lot of free time on their hands. Summer camp is a popular option for many parents. But maybe you think sending your child to a camp is not a possibility. There are, however, a ton of camps out there that were created for children with special needs and conditions, such as autism. Many of these camps provide a wonderful environment filled with fun activities, social skill building and learning opportunities.

To help find a camp in your area, here are some online resources worth checking out:

MySummerCamps.com – This site has a range of camps available around the U.S., with a section of autism camps for kids and teens. You can filter by your state to make combing through information even easier.

For example, by searching Maryland, three camps are highlighted:

SummerMatters.org – Summer Matters offers innovative programming for children and young adults with special needs in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. (Designed for ages 5-21)

Easter Seals – Residential and Day Camps – Easter Seals offers 140 camping and recreations facilities across the country.

VerySpecialCamps.com – Provides information of camps for children with special needs as well as information about jobs at these camps.

Did you have a camp in your area that you’d recommend? If so, share it with us!


Lynsey, Community Manager

 

Nothing Is Impossible

We love to share stories from around the autism community here with you on Kyle’s Treehouse. Here is a little something shared on Facebook by one of my inspirational friends, Theresa Noye, who ran The Son-Rise Program for her son, Regal.  It’s a great message of never giving up on your dreams.

Regal Canoe

 

My son, Regal was diagnosed with an ASD when he was 2 1/2 years old. It’s been quite a journey. We ran a home program, with the help of many people, 40-50 hrs/7days a week for 6 years in our home. We lovingly built a bridge from his world into ours. At his own pace, on his own terms, we witnessed the unfolding of a miracle. Two years ago he expressed a desire to go to school. He wanted to have the classroom experience and be around other kids (like his sister, Nia). We developed a list and worked together to help him reach his goal. Once again, my champion surpassed our imagination and off he went to school. He just spent the last three days with his 5th grade class camping, fishing, rock climbing, team-building, exploring…don’t give up on your dreams. Whatever limitations you are facing, nothing is impossible. #autismisnotalifesentence #healedbyhisstripes #thereismore

 

Hugs,

Jenifer

Getting Prepped for Flying

Wings for AutismSummer is just about here, and for a lot of us that means trips to celebrate graduations, weddings, family gatherings, and just good ole’ vacations are on the near horizon. You could be considering flying to your destination, but may be understandably hesitate if you’re concerned how your child/grandchild may do on the plane. Airports and planes can be a source of distress – due to long lines, going through security, plane noises, etc. With that in mind, some airports are hosting programs that will let you ‘practice’ flying – allowing your family to go through the process of flying without actually taking off. This way, your child/grandchild can get a feel for everything in a comfortable environment. Here are some of the programs currently underway, and more are being created in various airports across the country.

Have you tried any of these programs? If so, let us know how it went!

Lynsey, Community Manager

Prom Date

Prom Photo

I really love this story and wanted to share it with all of you (in case you haven’t seen it).  Nineteen-year-old Jon Larson, who has autism, was able to do something his parents never thought was a possibility – he attended his junior prom. His date for the evening was Maddi Colbeth, a fellow student at Clear Lake High in Wisconsin. Jon and Maddi met through a school club that, as noted in this article, encouraged friendships between disabled students and those without disabilities.

After Maddi joined the club she noticed that Jon was eating lunch alone and started eating with him–and they’ve had lunch together every day since. When it came time for Jon’s junior prom (Maddi is a senior), she asked Jon if he wanted to go and said, as that same article notes, “I knew he wouldn’t have gotten the chance if it wasn’t for me asking him, so I thought he deserved the chance to go. I thought he would enjoy that.”

And it seemed he did – they prepped in advance for the dance, even visiting the restaurant they would eat at ahead of time to get familiar with everything. At the prom, Jon danced and had a good time.

The friendship between these two teens is a wonderful thing to see, and I’m so glad Jon’s dad shared this story on Facebook. My hope is that more schools take on a similar club so others can benefit from such special bonds and experiences.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Study Connecting Placenta to Identifying Autism Risk

It seems like a study comes out every other day regarding the potential cause of autism, or even what may put children more at risk for developing autism. We’re still very much in the dark, it seems, about what is the cause of autism, with researchers leaning mostly toward a genetic link.

Even in the past month or so there’s been studies suggesting everything from an antidepressant that may cause autism, to an epilepsy drug taken during pregnancy posing a higher risk for autism, to excessive multivitamin use causing autism in young children.

However, one study that has been widely covered recently is about early detection of autism. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, looked at placentas at birth to determine the chance of being at risk for autism. Researchers looked specifically at women who already had children on the spectrum and found their placentas (following the delivery of their newborns) were different than others. The difference identified were abnormal folds and abnormal cell growth in the placenta. As noted in this WebMD article, the placentas from the at-risk pregnancies (meaning they already had children with autism, putting them at a higher risk for having additional children on the spectrum) were eight times more likely to have two or more of these abnormal folds than samples from not-at-risk deliveries.

Check out this NY Times article for additional details.

Lynsey, Community Manager