Adapted from this post in WellPower:
Wikipedia defines “social justice” as the “ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.” In terms of Autism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – many of whom will need some form of assistance, counseling and/or coaching with the following life skills:
- Establishing and maintaining personal and professional relationships
- Finding an appropriate living arrangement
- Learning and improving upon communication skills
- Seeking and maintaining employment
According to Autism Speaks, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues. These characteristics – alone or combined – can hinder adults from realizing their full potential within our society.
Exceptional Minds, a non-profit vocational center and animation studio for young adults on the autism spectrum, seeks to provide life skills resources to young autistic professionals. Exceptional Minds is committed to creating a world in which individuals on the autism spectrum are recognized for their talents and abilities. The vocational school provides young adults with customized instruction and hands-on experience to earn a living in the fields of multi-media, computer animation and post production. Next month, the school/job-training program will graduate its first nine students.
The Exceptional Minds program provides adults with ASD with life skills, real world experience and job training, but more importantly, gives students the “tools and confidence to achieve dreams” as illustrated in this video: http://exceptionalmindsstudio.org/index.html.
I am hopeful that as we continue to learn more about adults living with ASD, our communities will follow Exceptional Minds’ lead in realizing autistic adults’ full potential in a way that is meaningful to them and society as a whole.
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