"Parents of adult kids with autism are creating jobs that play to their strengths - like starting a t-shirt silk-screening shop if they are artistic, or organic farms if they like to work outdoors."
In an article in Saturday's USA Today about autism and employment, Lori and Gregg Ireland, founders of Extraordinary Ventures, share their story and how their experiences led to the creation of the Autism Speaks Small Businesses initiative. Extraordinary Ventures is a nonprofit that creates and nurtures self-sustaining small businesses designed around the skills of the young adults with autism and developmental disabilities that serve as its workforce.
Through a generous grant from the Ireland Family Foundation, Autism Speaks has been able to work collaboratively with Extraordinary Ventures on an initiative entitled Advancing the Role and Impact of Small Businesses in Employing Adults with Autism. Autism Speaks is hosting Town Hall-style meetings in nine different cities across the U.S. to help spread the word about these businesses and engage members of each community in a dynamic discussion about the opportunities that small businesses have in their local areas. Town halls have already taken place in New York and Philadelphia and a third and fourth will take place this week in Scottsdale, AZ (9/30) and Los Angeles, CA (10/2). Learn more about the Town Halls here.