Each year more individuals are being diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum. That means that changes must occur in just about every aspect of life as we know it to accommodate those individuals. This is especially true because approximately 500,000 children with Autism will turn 18 this year. What does that mean for their future and ours?
While you may be aware or not, people with Autism operate a bit differently than typical folks do. These very special people are many times highly gifted in most aspects of life but their one true downfall is that they have great difficulty with social interaction making it almost downright impossible to conduct life as typical individuals do; by attending college or getting a job.
One study published in the Pediatrics journal, took a look at kids with Autism six years after they had graduated from high school. This study showed that 55% of these young adults held a job while 35% attended a two-year or four-year college or university. These statistics are frightening in a world that is working toward integrating kids diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum into everyday activities in schools, sporting programs and the like. Unless the children have severe Autism (which does not allow for integration into regular classrooms), the United States wants them included in the general population.
Although this may be true, it is not easy for these individuals to accept due to their social setbacks. The parents of these children are only too aware of this situation but few know how to help. That is not true of Dan Selec whose son was diagnosed with Autism.
When Selec witnessed firsthand how even though many things have changed in the general public and in our school systems, his son was still left out of the fun, mainly because he felt socially segregated due to his disorder. Dan wanted to create a world where his son would not only feel welcome, but in charge, so he created NonPareil Institute. He wanted to give young adults with Autism an opportunity to find meaningful careers.
NonPareil started in; beginning slow and building as Dan and his partner, Gary Moore, worked through the kinks that any meaningful nonprofit organization must go through in the beginning. Currently they have 135 students. The rent and educational fees are covered by the tuition and the partners are able to make a modest salary, too.
The great thing is that after the students find their niche at NonPareil, some stay in order to further benefit this nonprofit; making it better and stronger for the next set of students who attend. Everyone there feels welcome, because most of the people there all have Autism. It is in institutions such as this one located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Plano, Texas, that give a charitable feel to the world of one diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.
There is a place for everyone on this planet. We are all unique in nature. Now is the time to embrace that and get on board with organizations like the NonPareil Institute that only wants to see the right thing done for those that have so much to offer.