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McAlister's Deli gave me a chance and a new outlook on life

This post is by Amanda Roberts, she is a 20-year-old woman on the autism spectrum. She currently works at McAlister's Deli. McAlister's is an Autism Speaks World Autism Month partner. 

When I was diagnosed with autism, I was told that I was intellectually impaired, would never be able to be included with neurotypical kids and I would never be trainable. My mom did not accept that autism diagnosis. Instead, she encouraged me by keeping me mainstream through most of my education.

Once I graduated high school my mom still expected me to work. Through Path Forward Kentucky's supported employment program I have had a job at McAlister's Deli for 10 months. The supported employment program is where I met with a job coach and did a personal-centered employment plan to figure out which jobs would be best for me.

I work 13-16 hours a week at McAlister's 4-5 days a week. My job tasks include bussing tables, getting people refills, carrying out food, sweeping and cleaning bathrooms. I have been so blessed that I have the ability to work to show people that even though I have autism I still have the potential to work and I am not different. God has been on my side the past 20 years, he showed me the way to a great job, I thank McAlister's Deli for giving me a job opportunity.

This blog is part of an ongoing series on our site called "In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum," which highlights the experiences of individuals with autism. Interested in contributing your story to our blog series? Email us at inourownwords@autismspeaks.org.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.