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...]

How Can We Ever Hope to Achieve an Inclusive World?

“Our vision is about creating a world where inclusion is something that happens every day. It’s not an exception to the rule, it IS the rule.” It’s a beautiful, bright morning. I’m sitting at a breakfast hosted by Gatepath, a Bay Area nonprofit that has been serving those with special needs for 96 years. I’m listening to their CEO. Bryan Neider, speak the vision of a truly inclusive world. Immediately my mind flashes to the imaginary world of Star Trek. 'This is what Bryan is speaking of,' I think to myself. A truly inclusive world where … [Read more...]

Meet Sara Joy, a Creative Autistic Entrepreneur

Sara Joy Sánchez is a young woman living in Mexico. She has Aspergers Syndrome but she wants you to know that it isn't stopping her from pursuing her dreams. She is a creative entrepreneur who has her own business, Joy Chan - Diseños & Creaciones Sara, you are so young, just 17 years old and already a graphic designer. That's impressive! How did you learn how to do graphic design? I asked my parents to go to a school near of my house, I’m homeschooled, so I always look for things to do. How does your Aspergers help you? I think it … [Read more...]

Imagine That! An Amazing Studio for Developmentally Disabled Artists

By Brandon Forrest Frederick, Imagine That! Kansas City Imagine That! Kansas City is an innovative and creative non-profit arts organization, gallery, and studio that supports developmentally disabled artists. Located in the heart of Kansas City’s arts district, we have exhibitions on First Friday’s of each month alongside numerous other galleries in the area. IT!KC is a program offered through Resources for Human Development, a non-profit organization that operates in 14 states, addressing intellectual and developmental disabilities, … [Read more...]

Autism Employment
Replacing Hope with a Seat at the Table

By Jodi Murphy From a dance teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District to worldwide leader and guiding light for autism, Joanne Lara proves that one woman can make a far reaching impact. She is taking action to move us from autism awareness, hope and acceptance to making sure our kids transition into adulthood with employers who understand their value and are ready to employ! From Dance Teacher to Worldwide Movement Joanne was in the classroom working with moderate to severe autistic children for ten years. With her … [Read more...]

Autism Entrepreneurship: 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 … [Read more...]

SEEDs for Autism
Art Vocations, Self-Reliance, Confidence

Out of unconditional love for her autistic brother, Paul, Mary Ann LaRoche has sewed the seeds of independence for adults on the autism spectrum. She wanted to create an environment where autistic and aspergers adults can learn a vocation, feel supported and accepted, and have a place to socialize without judgement. SEEDs for Autism, is her brainchild, a non-profit vocational training program where professional artisans work with their students to create marketable art, and learn valuable life skills in the process--staying on task, working as … [Read more...]