Meet Annie O.
Annie O., 29
Annie and her village of supporters overcame many challenges being part of this sudden increase of people diagnosed with autism.
Annie’s mom, Maureen, says her daughter’s smile and zest for life inspire everyone she meets. Largely nonverbal until she was 6, today Annie loves talking with friends and family (mainly about who needs a scarf or who is having a new baby) and sending text messages and photos on her iPhone. She has made hundreds of scarves and stuffed animals for people she meets and loves adding photos of these lucky recipients to her special album. Her business card says, “You’ve been scarfed by Annie!”
“When we suspected that Annie had autism, her pediatrician denied the referral for a comprehensive developmental evaluation. He said she had a speech delay. She did not look or act the way he imagined a child with autism. At that time, autism was considered a low incidence... for girls, 1 in 100,000. Annie had three hours per week of early intervention! Later in life when we applied for adult services, she was found ineligible because of a subtest IQ score above 70. Annie and her village of supporters overcame many challenges being part of this sudden increase of people diagnosed with autism.”
Annie now lives in a group home and enjoys supported work. Annie says her favorite things about having a job are, “I like to work, and I like money.” She was part of an internship program at a major health food store and excelled with the work-related tasks: turning products forward- facing and disposing of expired items. However, when customers asked her for help in the aisles, she was often unsure how to respond.
Currently, she does work constructing pizza boxes, recycling and cleaning within her Bridgewell, Inc. day program. She and her classmates have so much energy and pride to offer the workplace.