Like a rose, every person is "different" in their own way - with unique abilities (blooms) and challenges (thorns). In one way or another, we all live on a "spectrum" of some sort - a range of strengths and weaknesses - and, when given the proper environment, blossom and shine or, in the wrong environment, wither and wilt.
At Roses for Autism, we strive to provide the right environment for both our roses and our people to flourish. We also work hard at building community, serving as an ongoing resource for those living "on" and "off" the spectrum, and demystifying ASD in an effort to open doors of employment to all.
A diagnosis of autism requires that a person's observed behavior is "different enough" from others to become disabling in several major life areas. Criteria for being "different enough" to acquire a label of ASD is currently determined by application of criteria which has been articulated in something called the DSM-IV-TR (which is scheduled to be revised shortly).
For individuals with ASD, those "different enough" behaviors involve social relationships, communication with others, and using behaviors that can sometimes get in the way of productive performance. At RFA, we believe those "different enough" behaviors can be redirected in a compassionate, productive, and inclusive way so that our participants' "blooms" will outshine their "thorns" - and lead to steady and meaningful employment.
Since so many associate autism with fictional characters like Raymond Babbit in the movie Rain Man, we are sharing below our "ASD Myth Busters" and a Q&A with Wil Swartzell, an RFA employee with Asperger's Syndrome. And we invite you to help us better understand what it means to live as an adult with autism by sharing your story with us here.