3 Hopeful Outcomes of the Autism at Work Summit

There’s been something happening with many employers. It’s a slow but steady shift but it seems to be gaining momentum. Companies are moving from having a charitable mentality, “We need to hire people with autism out of the goodness of our hearts,” to “We need to hire autistic employees because it’s a good business decision.” Yes, autistic employees are positively impacting the bottom line and more companies are adopting this new mindset. Anka Wittenberg, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for SAP, stood at the platform to kick off the … [Read more...]

One Toy Company’s Unique Mission of Accept and Respect!

Business: LorettaRose, LLC dba My Sibling and My Pal Dolls Motto: Care, Learn and Have Fun! Mission: We strive to provide fulfilling work opportunities to individuals with disabilities as well as educate children to accept and respect their peers who learn and grow differently. What is LorettaRose and My Sibling and My Pal Dolls? We sell 18 inch boy dolls, doll clothing, and accessories in our online store. We are not a typical toy company, if one considers these three main factors that inspire us to continue doing what we do: … [Read more...]

Artists with Autism and Supportive Self-Employment

Business: Artists With Autism, Inc. Mission: “Promoting Micro-enterprising, Providing Opportunities, Creating Independence” What is Artists With Autism? Artists With Autism is the only not for profit social enterprise of its kind providing a retail gallery as a platform for more than 50 artists, authors and crafters with autism spectrum to show and sell their handmade art and crafts. They receive 100% of the proceeds from their sales. Why did you feel that starting your own business was the answer? We believe supported … [Read more...]

A Poppin Good Business for a Special Entrepreneur!

Business: Poppin Joe's Kettle Korn Motto:  “Have a ‘Poppin’ great day!” What is Poppin Joe’s Kettle Korn? Poppin Joe's Kettle Korn was established to show that I, Joe Steffy, a young man with autism and down syndrome, am able to work. The kettle korn business gives me an opportunity to do a variety of tasks I can chose between while at work each day. We sell fresh popped kettle korn at festivals, and in local retail outlets. Poppin Joe's also does private events and fundraisers for our local community. Why was starting your own … [Read more...]

Crafting Autism Employment with Creativity and Purpose

Business: Crafters for Life Mission: Create a constructive reason for autistic and special needs adults after aging out of high school to leave the house, learn social skills, and earn a paycheck. What is Crafters for Life? Crafters For Life is a company that employs autistic individuals and others with special needs to make and sell hand-crafted products. Our products include greeting cards, drink coasters, key chains, lavender eye pillows, drink tumblers and sugar scrubs. The company is based on a skills program in a high … [Read more...]

Yes She Can and Girl Power on the Autism Spectrum

Business: Yes She Can Inc. Mission: Women with Autism. We work. With you. Yes She Can Inc. helps young women with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) develop transferable job skills and gain greater independence through our intensive coaching program at Girl AGain boutique. What is Yes She Can Inc.? We are a 501c3 nonprofit founded in November, 2013, by Marjorie Madfis, a mother of a daughter with ASD, following her 30-year career in corporate marketing. Marjorie was a pioneer in digital and social media marketing at IBM from where … [Read more...]

What Happens When You Can Show the World Your Talent?

James Sullivan is an extremely talented man on the autism spectrum. He has a degree in filmmaking and has his own YouTube channel. He writes, films, edits, performs, sings and talks about anything and everything in today's pop culture scene. He's interesting to talk to and fun to be around. I met James when he and his parents came to see a presentation I was giving in San Francisco. Like me, Susan Sullivan (James' mom) was starting a nonprofit business to employ people with autism. James produced a video for her new "PreLOVED Toys" … [Read more...]

Trailblazing a Positive Future for Autism Employment

Boaz and Minerva Santiago are the founders of Picasso Einstein, an educational consulting firm solely focused on self-employment for persons with disabilities. They are parents to two boys on the autism spectrum. Based on the work typically offered to persons with autism, they knew that traditional employment would be challenging and lack meaning for their sons. So, at the early age of 11 and 13, they have their boys explore, learn about, and begin to develop small business ideas that will serve as meaningful sources of employment. Picasso … [Read more...]

A Special Needs’ Parent Speaks Out for Flexible Job Opportunities!

Honorable Labor Secretary Perez and Prospective Employers… Do you want to know why you must employ me, according to my terms, with a livable salary? I invite you both to keep repeating Labor Secretary Perez’s recent words as you read my letter… We all succeed only when we all succeed. But my review of available data corroborates that we all have not succeeded. This is where you, my prospective employer, will play an important role guaranteeing we all succeed as Secretary Perez envisions it. As he continues, We can only make progress … [Read more...]

The Unique Biscotti Business that will Make You SMILE!

Business: SMILE Biscotti, LLC Mission: Skills development, social connections and pathways toward greater independence What is SMILE? SMILE (Supporting My Independent Living Enterprise) trains, employs and supports adults on the autism spectrum in an effort to further their growth, happiness and independence. Co-workers mix, bake, package and distribute biscotti across the U.S. SMILE also engages family volunteers to produce delicious handmade biscotti in a variety of flavors.  The biscotti are sold online as well as in more than a … [Read more...]