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...]

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...]

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...]

Computer Clinic and Learning Academy – One Mom’s Quest for Autistic Employment

Editor’s Note: Paula Powers is a single mom raising a young autistic son. Our family’s story about starting Geek Club Books inspired her to want to start her own company to employ autistic adults. She wants to part of the movement to empower through meaningful autism employment! Starting a company is no small undertaking. There are highs and lows, milestones reached and setbacks too—it takes patience, persistence and determination to make it happen. Since Paula is starting at ground zero, we asked her to chronicle her journey as we can all … [Read more...]

Autism Employment and the EIN

Editor’s Note: Paula Powers is a single mom raising a young autistic son. Our family’s story about starting Geek Club Books inspired her to want to start her own company to employ autistic adults. She wants to part of the movement to empower through meaningful autism employment! Starting a company is no small undertaking. There are highs and lows, milestones reached and setbacks too—it takes patience, persistence and determination to make it happen. Since Paula is starting at ground zero, we asked her to chronicle her journey as we can all … [Read more...]