Roses for Autism
Roses for Autism also teaches job placement skills with the aid of an employment specialist to help prepare participants for life after the farm. Each participant creates a portfolio that contains information on their specific skills, experience, topics they like to talk about, topics they don’t like to talk about and future goals.
Roses for Autism is now in a position to help place some of the program’s participants in jobs elsewhere. However, the program’s potential can already be seen in Stephen Packard, an early participant who now works full-time on the farm as an emarketing specialist and, according to Gregan, has become invaluable to the daily operation of the business.
Everyone involved with Roses for Autism hopes that the remarkable transformation of the participants will encourage other businesses to duplicate the model. They foresee the program being implemented for individuals with other disabilities or conditions in a variety of working environments.
Despite the success of Roses for Autism, people within the community and business world need to be made aware and eventually acknowledge that individuals along the autism spectrum can be productive, valued employees of a company. A key objective of Roses for Autism is demonstrating that people along the autistic spectrum can adapt to different working environments, handle responsibility, make critical decisions, and interact with coworkers and customers.
Although the national conversation on autism centers on debating the causes and seeking a cure, Roses for Autism has taken an innovative step to improve the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum and, potentially, positively impact the high unemployment rate.
“You can’t just wait for the cure,” says Hipp.
Robert Tomaino has been writing about medical and health issues for 15 years. He specializes in patient and physician education materials, rare disorders and medical research. He has written for the National Organization for Rare Disorders and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
WebMD Feature from “Exceptional Parent” Magazine