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New Jersey Man with Autism Finds Success and Independence

June 04, 2014

(June 4, 2014) - Kevin Petranich is a 34-year-old man with autism working a competive job and living in a supervised apartment on his own in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Atlanticville's Greater Media Newspaper reports that according to those in Kevin's life, through a comprehensive chain of supports and a growing independence, he has reached what many consider to be the pinnacle of the adult-services system for individuals with autism in New Jersey.

Kevin has worked in the mail room at Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton for over 13 years. Kevin's mom credits his success at work to the job sampling, job coaching and transportation services he received in high school. 

"He comes in and if there is mail here, he will do it before he gets set for the day. That has always been Kevin since the day he got trained,” said Jillian Paterson, senior manager of interoffice services for ETS. “… We used to basically have to kick him out at the end of the day when we were shutting off the lights.”

According to Paterson, ETS reaps a great deal of productivity from its workers with disabilities. “Companies get so much back if they do this, because the productivity goes up,” Paterson added. “They don’t take off. They love to work. They do a great job. But it has to be a great fit for the person, as well as the company.”

In addition, in early 2013, Kevin moved into a supervised apartment run by Eden Autism Services. Thanks to the support of the state and agencies like The Arc of New Jersey and Eden, Kevin's life today is a great story of independence and success for adults with autism.

Learn about Autism Speaks' adult services resources, including our Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit and Employment Tool Kithere!