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What is our Autism Spectrumship Program?

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As citizens and business owners, we value the importance of giving back to our community. As soon as we decided to venture into the bagel business, we realized we had the opportunity to really make a positive change in our community. Before we even purchased the business, we knew we wanted to help support students living with autism. Issues around living on the autism spectrum are quite personal for our family. Our son was non-verbal and through multiple intervention methods, he is now classified as having high-functioning autism. Our daughter was also diagnosed at 1 year old. Through aggressive early intervention we became fortunate enough to see her diagnosis change and she is no longer on the Autism spectrum.

One non-profit that has made a substantial positive impact on our lives has been OasisNC/S.E.A. Academy. The small class sizes, one-on-one attention, and academic support have been wonderful for our son August. He loves school, has amazing friends, and is blossoming.

Our family’s experiences highlighted a need for more hands-on real life work training programs. We realized that having our own business enabled us to offer a unique internship program for students. We could put forth the extra effort to show, teach, and help develop job and customer service skills to our son’s classmates.

Our Spectrumship Program was born! The Spectrumship Program is a paid internship for high school students with autism. Currently, we work with students at Oasis NC. Our Spectrumship program has several goals. First, we work with each student to identify any accommodations or modifications they might need to be successful in a working environment. Working individually with each student allows us the freedom to create individualized workplace goals help each student develop skills they already had and help them realize the skills they already have!

You might wonder why we use a puzzle shape as a logo. The answer is probably different from what you might expect. We don't believe that people living with autism are a puzzle piece we need to figure out. Yes, it is true that all people on the autism spectrum are very different but they aren't the puzzle, the rest of society needs to solve. Neurodivergent individuals are one piece of a large community puzzle (both locally and globally). Why can't we work together and try to make sure as many people as possible are included in our school, work, and social lives?

Currently, we have five former Spectrumship students working part-time in our shop. It has been amazing to see how these students grow and gain a new sense of self-confidence. 

Watch us on SpectrumNews here.

 

 

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