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

May 3, 2018

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.