Roses for Autism

Roses for Autism employs teenagers and young adults with autism. Roses for Autism ships roses and other flowers nation-wide.

Don’t have your act together for Valentine’s Day? Thanks to Roses for Autism RFA, you can buy freshly-cut, fragrant Connecticut-grown Pinchbeck roses – if you order quickly.

Yes, these are the same famous Pinchbecks, grown under glass in Guilford since 1929, once sought after by hotels in New York and Boston for their heady fragrance and full blooms.

After the Pinchbeck family decided it could no longer run the business in 2008, Ability Beyond Disability, a nonprofit organization based in Bethel, set up RFA through its Growing Possibilities arm. The rose growing, wholesale and retail operation not only keeps a Connecticut tradition and agricultural production going, it provides life training and career opportunities for adults who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

via The Day – Roses for Autism to the Rescue | News from southeastern Connecticut.

Man with autism learns to drive, gets job decorating cakes

Michael Holtzclaw enjoys the total process of decorating grocery store cakes, including just being able to get in his automobile and come to work to get started.

The 22-year-old with autism seemed unlikely a few years ago to be able to enjoy such an independent existence. But through the help of the United Way-funded Goodwill Industries, he was able to get his driver’s license and find employment.

“The driving instructor said he was a natural,” said his mother, Linda Holtzclaw, with a laugh.

via Beating driving fears takes the cake for man with autism » Knoxville News Sentinel.

Knoxville program helps employ adults with autism

Adults with autism are getting job training and better acquainted with their community in Knoxville, Tennessee, thanks to Breakthrough Knoxville. The parent-started organization also provides housing, social groups, respite care and other services for autistic people age 18 and older. Breakthrough Knoxville is also working on developing a neighborhood for adults with autism!

Here’s a local news story on the employment program. We wish there were job opportunities for adults with autism in every community!

Every Tuesday, Jennifer Wilkerson helps “Scrappin in the City” open up shop.

“She vacuums. She dusts. She mops,” says Yvette Morris, co-owner of Scrappin In The City.

Not only is she a real go getter, Jennifer is perhaps the store’s most pleasant employee.

“Just a week ago, she started giggling and laughing,” says Sarah Preston, co-owner of Scrappin In The City. Jennifer is autistic. Thanks to a program called Breakthrough Knoxville, she landed a job at Scrappin In The City back in August.

“Breakthrough by design is to help improve the lives of adults with Autism,” says William Brown with Breakthrough Knoxville. “That’s our motto.”

via Knoxville program helps employ adults with autism |

Man with Down syndrome opens restaurant, offers food and hugs

There’s a new restaurant in Albuquerque and while the food is good, the hottest thing on the menu isn’t food—it’s a hug.

Restaurant owner Tim Harris wants to offer a welcoming environment where you can grab something to eat while meeting friends. He didn’t let Down Syndrome get in the way of achieving his dream of opening a restaurant at Academy and Wyoming in northeast Albuquerque.

via Local restaurant serves unique specialty |

Texas autism dads start non-profit to train students with autism for good employment

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, 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.

via NonPareil Institute gets $200,000 donation | Business | Dallas Business, Texas Business,….

Roses for Autism: Growing roses and jobs for autistic employees

Shattered by a weak economy, rising energy costs and a continuous avalanche of inexpensive, imported roses from South America, Pinchbeck Rose Growers of Guilford, Conn., was forced to close its doors in 2008. For Tom Pinchbeck, the third-generation owner of the farm, it marked the end of an era.

Pinchbeck was the last standing wholesale grower of cut roses in New England, operating the largest greenhouse under one roof—150,000 square feet—in the United States.

But last year, the 80-year-old rose farm got a new lease on life, reopening its doors with a new mission that goes far beyond just growing fresh-cut, fragrant roses.

Today, the farm is the home of Roses for Autism, an innovative nonprofit that provides job training and employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. Roses for Autism’s main goal is to give its employees the necessary skills to maintain meaningful employment so they can carry those skills with them when they eventually move on to different agricultural or farming jobs.

via Roses for Autism: Cultivating Roses & Job Opportunities –

Pennsylvania program helps disabled practice independence

hari DeGeorge wants to become a waitress — even if she has a lot of obstacles to overcome.

DeGeorge, 19, of North Huntington has Down syndrome. Because of her disability, she may never drive. And she is extremely shy.

But for the next year or two, DeGeorge and her twin sister, Jill, who has Down syndrome, will learn how to run a household and see what it takes to work in food service as part of a new program sponsored by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

“I want to go shopping,” said DeGeorge, a Norwin High School graduate. “I can’t wait to be able to plan everyone’s meals.”

The intermediate unit on Thursday conducted an open house of the newly renovated Dormont dwelling that will serve as a daytime training center for a program that starts this fall and continues through the school year.

The DeGeorges and six other young adults ages 18 to 21 — all high school graduates — will be responsible for food shopping, cleaning and other household chores. Each afternoon, they will visit workplaces to learn more about possible job paths.

via Disabled to get chance at independence – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Software-testing jobs project for Scots with autism

A new social enterprise will create up to 50 jobs for people with autism by harnessing characteristics of the condition as skills to provide IT services for major Scottish companies.

A dozen trainees with autism are to be recruited by Specialisterne Scotland in the next six months and undergo a four-month training programme before being given positions as software testers with starting salaries from £18,000.

Figures show that only 13% of adults with autism are in full-time employment in Scotland, but the new project aims to tap into the insight, attention to detail and desire for consistency that are common traits in people with autism.

The company, which aims to create a working environment with a high degree of predictability and minimal stress for its employees, is the first in the world to stem from a Danish project that was set up by Thorkil Sonne in 2004 after his son Lars was diagnosed with autism.

via IT project gives career hope to autistic Scots – Herald Scotland | News | Home News.

New book, ‘Autism Tomorrow,’ helps parents guide autistic children into adulthood

Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Tony Attwood and 14 other autism experts contributed advice in a new book on facing adulthood with autism. The book, “Autism Tomorrow: The Complete Guide to Help Your Child Thrive in the Real World,” addresses independent living, employment, puberty, sexuality, bullying, social skills, communication, financial planning and more.

Autism Today, a leading autism spectrum disorder education and awareness organization, announced that the unique comprehensive book, “Autism Tomorrow, The Complete Guide to Help Your Child Thrive in the Real World,” is now available. The book is a compilation of advice from leading experts in autism spectrum disorders with each author adding valuable insight to help parents, care providers and educators guide children into adulthood.

via Essential New Book, ‘Autism Tomorrow’, Helps Children Transition into Adulthood.

Autistic adults, advocates, visit Washington

The  Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism recent Congressional briefing brought together policymakers and advocates, including this young man with autism who described his goals and college dream.

Joey Rosenbloom, 22, uses a “life writer” to communicate. Sharen Rosenbloom assists her son in every task, from tying his shoes to combing his hair. But the reality Joey faces is what will happen when his mother is gone – an issue that 500,000 autistic children growing into adulthood must figure out. Autism spectrum disorder ranges from mild to severe developmental disabilities. ASD affects people in social and behavioral ways. Some are unable to develop life skills because they cannot speak and are unable to interact with people, while others cannot control their actions. Autism is not just a childhood disease – it never goes away. The Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism consortium met in Washington on Thursday to urge policymakers, advocates and others to make numerous changes. Those include training service providers how to interact with autistic people, new funding to meet individual needs and expanding incentives for housing. Joey and five other autistic people, ages 22 to 54, told the audience of 250 people what they face now and what’s ahead.”My goal is to find a university longing to house and educate individuals living with autism,” Joey said, using his device. “I dream of living on a campus and learning from professors and not just special educators.” via Autistic adults face insecure future.