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Calls to Action

Successful Car Wash Hires Employees with Autism

April 23, 2015

It can often be difficult for young adults and adults with autism to find and maintain jobs in today's job market. Currently, adults with autism and their families are largely left on their own to secure appropriate employment resources and opportunities.

Fortunately, effective services and supports for adults with autism do exist and are expanding and replicating across the country. Innovative business concepts that offer competitive employment are providing our community with hope for the future. 

The documentary Sounding the Alarm highlights one such program in Florida. Rising Tide Car Wash, founded by the father and older brother of a young man with autism, is a scalable conveyorized car wash dedicated to the empowerment of individuals with autism. As of February, the first location in Parkland, Florida employed 35 men and women on the spectrum. The program has been a big success.

“If we get this right, this is a game changer,” says co-founder John D’Eri in the documentary. “This will change disability employment… to sustainable, better business where you can get a return on investment and help people at the same time. What’s better than that?”

Learn more about Rising Tide in the Sounding the Alarm clip below:

Autism Speaks is committed to expanding the capacity of services and supports for adults with autism and employment is one of our major areas of focus. Autism Speaks has developed many employment-related resources which you can find below:

Other tools to help prepare for the transition to adulthood include:

  • The Transition Tool Kit was designed to serve as a guide to assist families of individuals between the ages of 14 and 22  on the journey from adolescence to adulthood. The kit contains information on topics like self-advocacy, community living, postsecondary education, legal matters and more.
  • The Community-based Skills Assessment, developed through a contract with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, is a tool to help parents and professionals assess the current skill levels and abilities of individuals with autism beginning at age 12 and continuing into adulthood in order to develop a comprehensive personalized transition plan.
  • Identifor is a new website and app designed to help parents and individuals understand their own (or their child's) skills, abilities and interests using games in order to develop a personalized transition plan.

For additional resources and information regarding employment and adult services, contact the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team at or 888-288-4762 (en Espanol 888-772-9050).