Listen to an audio version of this article
Derek has a passionate interest in bicycles and is turning that passion into a small business. He’s also a non-speaking person on the autism spectrum with epilepsy. Nothing is going to stop him from creating a meaningful future for himself and paying it forward by giving back to others.
Business: Bike Dr. Derek
Derek’s Manifesto: “Anybody like me can do anything they want if they can find good support and people that believe in them.”
What is Bike Dr. Derek?
Bike Dr. Derek is me and my small team, who got into bike repair after knowing me for many years. That is what my family is growing into, a community of hard working adults who help me provide the best experience possible for bike owners. This makes me grateful in my heart to be so fortunate at the beginning of this business venture.
Bike Dr. Derek sells bike services like cleaning, repairs and replacements of damaged parts, and I hope to get a steady flow of business for summer months.
Why did you feel that starting your own business was the answer?
Yes, I understand your wanting to know but I had to trust my parents first, then start the business. You only know something after you try and see it working. This is working for me.
Is this a business that just employs you or do you also employ others with autism or special needs?
I am self-employed. There are no other employees yet.
What are 3 challenges you faced and 3 rewards you experienced from starting your own business?
Challenge & Reward: The challenge is part of the reward in a way. You have to understand that for me, this business is something I did not fully understand but am still learning to operate. I own my business. As a mechanic and a student, this is the journey I am on right now. I believe that is the most rewarding feeling: to be successful.
Challenge: The challenge comes with knowing that while my teachers and parents are wonderful members of my team, they will never understand the autism experience the same way I do. It isn’t needed, but I feel longing for the same kinds of thinkers like me. Doing this work might also help someone like me one day.
Challenge: The challenge for me is to always do the work in a certain amount of time. The task looks easier when we write them in steps. We have been creative making really good task lists with photos.
Reward: Rewards were hard to find until this year. Thankfully this steady work gives me something to do for money. You would be surprised to know I had the only job in my writing class full of able teenagers.
Reward: It has made me feel happy because it allows me to help others.
Do you have a memorable moment you’d like to share?
When other students saw that I am able to work it really made me feel good and it makes me happy.
Do you have any upcoming plans, new releases or exciting news!
My shop moved to a new location in Fort Lauderdale. This is exciting news. We also will begin selling Bike Dr. Derek t-shirts on my website to the public very soon. There is also a pick-up and delivery service underway for interested clients.
What message would you like to give to other families who are searching for job opportunities for their autistic loved one?
The people you meet can be in your life as insiders or outsiders. Find the right group of insiders who believe in your loved one and will do the planning to get the action started. It takes time to
find a job or create one. Only you and your loved one can discover and believe that everyone has a purpose in their life. This is what work can do, to inspire.
Find Bike Dr. Derek:
If you liked this post, you may also like: