Autism Entrepreneurship: Creative Paths to Employment

creative paths to employment

What’s Autism Entrepreneurship?

School’s over (and not just for the summer) and your child has aged out of services. What’s next? And what happens when it comes time for a career? Yes, a career and not just a job but doing work that is meaningful where your child can contribute their talents and abilities to the world. THIS is the question that my friend Sharon Cummings and I have been asking ourselves as our children move into adulthood. And our solution to the lack of job opportunities for our guys? Become entrepreneurs and start our own companies!

We know we’re not alone as many parents, siblings, and extended families are diving right in and doing the same. Could we inspire other families who are searching for meaningful work for their adult spectrum and special needs children? Could we inspire autism entrepreneurship?

Lucy Beadnell, Director of Advocacy for The ARC of Northern Virginia, thought so! So Jonathan and I packed up our bags and headed out to Virginia to participate in “Creative Paths to Employment” panel on July 16, 2014.

Panel

Jonathan and Jodi Murphy, Ellen and Cameron Graham, Sarah Noble, Sharon Cummings
Photo by Conner Cummings

The panel included:

We all briefly shared our stories and then opened up to the audience for questions—2 hours zoomed by and we concluded with the message to start small, test the waters and then take the leap!

Lynn Ruiz, Director of Community Relations sent us this message:

Each and everyone of you deserves a huge thank you for your excellent presentations. It was wonderful to hear the conversations around the room after this was all over. You got each and everyone of them thinking more creatively and out-of-the-box.

Mission accomplished! The panel was booked to capacity and there was a waiting list to attend—evidence that families are hungry for alternative solutions for their adult children. The ARC wants to do it again in the fall. Another chance to see our friends Conner and Sharon? Another opportunity to share and interact with other families? Our bags are already packed…

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Would you like to see a panel like this in your area? Let us know in comments…

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About Jodi Murphy

I am the founder of Geek Club Books, autism storytelling through mobile apps for awareness, acceptance and understanding. My mission is to use the art of storytelling and technology to entertain and educate for the social good. I am a 'positive' autism advocate, mother of an awesome adult on the autism spectrum, lifestyle journalist, and marketing specialist.

Comments

  1. Hi,

    A one-page handout gives an idea of what you covered in your workshop. However, it doesn’t say anything else. How many people attended? Did the four of you just talk about your businesses and how you started them?

    We certainly are interested in creative employment ideas in the Yahoo group I run, as well as what I hear in other parent groups I attend. We are in the Philadelphia PA area and would like to hear how to set up such a panel in our area.

    Thank you, jim

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