Catching up with Kaitlyn Y.

“Kaitlyn continues to thrive in so many areas of her life, but like all of us, she still has her challenges. While Kaitlyn struggles to problem solve, take in her surroundings, and be fully independent, we have been fortunate enough to build a supportive community around her using the resources available through a variety of agencies. Today, Kaitlyn leads a fulfilling life, one that she feels good about and allows her to contribute to society. We couldn’t be prouder of our daughter and the amazing things she continues to accomplish each and every day.”  

– Julie Y., Kaitlyn’s mom.  



When we last spoke with Kaitlyn two years ago, the former Spectrum Spotlight star had just begun her transition to adulthood, working alongside her mom at their do-it-yourself craft studio franchise that offers individual and group classes to create on-trend designs on customizable decor accessories. 

Diagnosed with autism at age three, Kaitlyn received services and support that helped her take on more responsibilities as a young adult.  At 21, Kaitlyn shared that she was excited to combine two of her favorite things in beginning her first job: crafting and making people smile.  

Now, at 23, Kaitlyn still faces significant challenges but continues to break barriers, pursue her passions and find purpose as a valuable contributor to the workforce. Read Kaitlyn’s original Spectrum Spotlight feature here and see what she’s been up to below. 

Kaitlyn Y., 23, is very busy these days, thriving in many areas of her life. She enjoys having a consistent schedule, brimming with activities that include working at her family’s business, running daily errands, attending personal development classes and participating in an array of hobbies. The St. Louis, Missouri resident, who often receives support from services offered within her community, enjoys giving back by dedicating her time to driving positive changes.  

Here is a look at Kaitlyn’s daily schedule – one that always keeps her on the go. 

On Monday, Kaitlyn works with an assistant who picks her up in the morning and helps her with tasks throughout the day. They grocery shop together and run errands for Kaitlyn’s family. Kaitlyn then volunteers at the food pantry with the goal of packing 85 bags or more to help feed people in her community. She also prioritizes her physical health, working out every afternoon before attending music classes in the evening.  

Kaitlyn at Opryland

On Tuesday, Kaitlyn receives applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to help improve her social skills, self-care and safety skills. She then goes to work at her family’s wood working and crafting workshop, where she excels at tasks that are consistent and predictable. On an average day, Kaitlyn will cut rags that can be used for staining during classes, make labels for people’s projects, put together tool kits for customers to use, enter inventory into the company’s computer, do light cleaning and help prep orders. Kaitlyn has a job coach who regularly checks on her progress to help ensure she’s meeting her goals.  

On Wednesdays, Kaitlyn volunteers at the local Autism Speaks’ office, helping with a variety of projects. Later in the day she attends speech and occupational therapies, runs errands, enjoys lunch and hits the gym. She typically finishes the day with theater rehearsal in the evening.  

In the morning on Thursdays, Kaitlyn attends a class at an agency that focuses on safety and self-care for people with disabilities, as well as on building relationships with peers and other life skills. In the afternoon, it’s back to the workshop to work with mom for a full day’s work.  

As the week comes to a close, Kaitlyn and her mom take a hip-hop class together. Kaitlyn then goes to ABA and later sharpens her skills on the lanes as she attends bowling practice for the Special Olympics.  

Kaitlyn’s weekends are filled with Best Buddies events, gymnastics classes, theater rehearsals, social events and spending time with friends. To say she is always on the move is an understatement.  

Kaitlyn’s family, especially her mom, Julie, and dad, Greg, are dedicated to providing her with opportunities to reach her full potential.

Autism Speaks does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties. The views and opinions expressed in blogs on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of Autism Speaks.