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 Asperger 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 a team, pride of workmanship, eye/hand co-ordination, responsibility, and making friends. They have an opportunity to work at:
I’ve watched my child blossom from an isolated teen who stayed home all day to a confident young woman, who is busy with friends, college, art projects. My daughter is no less autistic, but I don’t worry about her future like I used to. I see how capable she is. Cinder McDonald, Parent
As if those words aren’t enough to capture your heart, you’ll be blown away by the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind goodness SEEDs produces:
These items were created as part of a team effort between the students, myself and my fellow instructors, as such these items do not have a single creator each student works on each of the different aspects of creating from select the fabrics, cutting pattern pieces out, assembly and finishing touches, with the instructors offering guidance, quality control and technical assistance.
C. A. Sizemore, Artisan & Instructor
Sadly, Mary Ann’s brother Paul died of pancreatic cancer two months after SEEDs opened its doors. But it is in his loving memory that SEEDs continues, and Mary Ann hopes that it will make a positive impact on the lives it touches, as she intended it to do for him.
Images courtesy of SEEDs
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