Autism Society of Mahoning Valley's Adult Career & Life Skills Program

Supporting Adults with Autism on their Journey to Independence

1 in 59 children born in the US will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According to the Atlantic.com, “The number of adults with autism diagnoses is soaring, but there aren’t enough programs and services to meet the demand.” This is a nationwide crisis and we want to help fill that tremendous need in our community by providing inclusive, person-centered programming that supports the unique goals of our individuals on their journey to live the most independent and fulfilling lives possible. In our region of Ohio, this program will be the first and only program in a 3-county region that is utilizing national best practices to provide adult supports tailored to the autism population. The Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley is already supporting youth through programs such as a summer camp, monthly community outings & parent support groups. This program would allow us to expand and support individuals into adulthood and across their lifespan.

This is a new, start-up initiative of the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley. We won’t receive any revenue until after we have started servicing clients, as this is a “bill for service” state-licensed program, but there is plenty of work and investment needed before we can ever begin servicing clients. The $25,000 would greatly support us in getting this program up and running for the individuals in our community that desperately need the help. We need to secure an office space and retro-fit it to our needs, including the design of a sensory room, purchasing standard office supplies and furniture, building out a tech center for clients to work on resumes and career research, as well as purchasing vocational task supplies and teaching materials to help build our clients employment skills. Based on our budget estimations, the $25,000 would cover the purchase of all of those supplies and materials, as well as cover at least 6 months’ worth of rent.

Receiving this grant would greatly help us change the lives of adults with autism forever! The national average employment statistics for those with disabilities usually hovers around 30% and those with ASD are often employed even less than that. As a “work-first” agency, we believe everyone can and should be able to work if they so choose. We also want our individuals to live full, rewarding lives that go beyond the work place. We support meaningful, functional community integration efforts for all of our individuals on a regular basis. This means teaching skills and supporting activities such as social skills, self-advocacy, travel training, rec & leisure activities, health & fitness and arts & culture. This grant would help provide the much-needed support to get this program up and running prior to any other revenue streams being available to us. These are the first steps to helping adults with autism live the most rewarding and independent lives possible!