PLANO — What began with two men worried about the futures of their young autistic children has blossomed into a nonprofit that wants to train high-functioning young adults for high-paying work in fields such as video gaming and computer graphics.
The nonPareil Institute — nonPareil meaning unparalleled — has secured an anonymous $200,000 donation from the parent of a child with autism and used part of that money to open a small training center at Southern Methodist University’s Plano campus last month.
The institute, started a year ago in the breakfast nook of co-founder Dan Selec’s Plano home, has 20 students learning fundamental computer language at the college.
Students have produced two games — TicTacToe! and Space Paranoids! — that are available on nonPareil’s website, www.npitx.org. They are also working on two iPhone applications. One will be available for $1 in the Apple iTunes store this month, and the second in December or January, said Selec, nonPareil’s CEO, and Gary Moore, co-founder and president. For competitive reasons, details of the apps have not been disclosed.
Both men, who spent their careers in information technology, have a teenage son with autism.