Build A Future of Inclusion for Youth With Autism

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Build A Future of Inclusion for Youth With Autism

From Mary Roberts

We are raising money to support job readiness and skill-building workshops for teens with autism.

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This is my son Noa, a happy and charismatic 13-year-old who is without a doubt, the kindest person I have ever known.  Like many kids his age, he enjoys video games, music, and dancing.  We recently discovered that he has a talent for acting and he was just cast as Shrek in his school’s upcoming production of Shrek, the Musical.  Although this is a big milestone for any child, it’s an especially significant one for him. 

Noa was diagnosed with autism at the age of 10 and not that long ago he was quite isolated from the outside world.  It was difficult for him to make friends and he rarely participated in family outings.   Social norms were confusing to him and his sensory sensitives, combined with anxiety made just about every day overwhelming.  With a lot of encouragement and support, Noa has blossomed into a confident young man who fully intends to defy all stereotypes so he can live his most fulfilling life.

As a parent and Vocational Rehabilitation professional, I know the obstacles that my son will face all too well.  Especially as it relates to meaningful, gainful employment.  According to the National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood -

  • More than 1/3 of young adults in their early 20’s never obtained employment or continued education after high school.
  • In comparison, nearly 99% of young adults in America will work at some point between the ages of 21 to 25.
  • Over half of young adults with autism received no vocational or life skills services during their early 20s.
  • 57% of young adult respondents reported that they felt depressed and 48% reported that they were lonely.
  • Approximately 90% of youth who had a job during high school also had a job during their early 20’s.

These statistics demonstrate the need for school-to-work programs that better prepare teens and young adults for life after high school.  Employment provides financial independence, a sense of belonging, a chance to contribute to one’s community and an opportunity to develop social relationships. 

Inspired by my son’s perseverance and my passion for improving employment outcomes for individuals with autism, I founded Inclusion Works Inc, a 501(c)3 organization in March of 2018.  Please join us in our mission of increasing community participation among individuals with autism through high impact programs that transform isolation into inclusion. 

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