The Autism Job Club: The Neurodiverse Workforce in the New Normal of Employment

I’ve been reviewing The Autism Job Club by Michael S. Bernick and Richard Holden about the impact of adults with autism moving into the workforce. It discusses what has changed in the employment field and offers resources and strategies to assist those on the spectrum, their families and also anyone that is interested in finding their place in a more competitive job market. It shares personal struggles and difficulties in job searching as well as how important this issue is to the broader community.   

The Autism Job Club - The Neurodiverse Workforce in the New Normal of Employment

There are seven parts to the book that cover multiple chapters of importance. Here is a very short outline of each segment. 

  • Part 1: The Six Autism Employment Strategies goes into detail about how The Autism Job Club came together, their journey, a bit about the participants and what you’ll find later in the book.
  • Part 2: The Adult Autism Community in the United States Today and It’s Employment Status features the numbers, how autism appears to the public conscious, the employment and unemployment of those on the spectrum and personal stories of job searches. 
  • Part 3: The Art of the Autism Job Coach talks about the evolving job world, mastering job searching in the internet age as well as networks and support. 
  • Part 4: Autism, Technology, and the Growing Internet Economy Employment covers autism and the technological advantage, plus different types of internet economies that are growing and what they mean to the autism community.
  • Part 5: Autism and the Practical Economy discusses autism-focused businesses, hiring initiatives and the movement to improve wages. 
  • Part 6: Autism and Employment for the More Severely Impacted discusses supported work through micro-businesses, mainstream workplaces as well as supported workshops.
  • Part 7: Lifelong Learning, Workplace Culture, and the Future of the Autism Job Club goes over the importance of retraining, refreshing and upgrading new skills for those on the spectrum and where the Autism Job Club goes from here.

It’s really difficult for many of us to consider the future of our children when they reach adulthood and “age out” as it were. There are so many individual struggles that must be overcome in order for many people with autism to simply go to a one-on-one interview. The Autism Job Club is not only an essential resource to help, but a glimpse of hope for our families and (I hope) a call to action in the broader community. I honestly encourage anyone and everyone to pick up their own copy and/or offer one to a family or business that is struggling with the new normal.

You can find more information about The Autism Job Club on its website and pick up your own copy on Amazon.

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Independence Day Clothing – Safety & Sensory Friendly Fashion

I was introduced to this company a few weeks ago and I knew immediately that I had to share their clothing line with you. An entire clothing line designed specifically for the special needs population that addresses safety and independence doesn’t come around very often. This is not a sponsored post. I wholeheartedly appreciate what this company is doing and can’t wait to be a customer.

Independence Day Clothing Logo

At a time when wandering has become a serious issue for autism families, I’m completely surprised I hadn’t heard of Independence Day Clothing before. What doesn’t surprise me is that it was created by a mother of an autistic child who realized how much of an issue it had become. Lauren Thierry was a news anchor for CNN when she had left to care for her son. During the creation of her documentary, Autism Every Day, she become aware of two very important issues in our community: wandering and independence. These challenges are often conflicting as a child grows older. We want our children to learn to be independent as much as possible, but the simple act of dressing can be difficult and letting them learn to do things away from us with the fear of wandering is often horrifying.

 

With the help of a phenomenal business team made up of people from fashion, design, special education, media and finance sectors of New York City, they came together to create a line of clothing that everyone could put on frontwards, backwards; without buttons, tags or zippers that also was stylish and technology friendly. This allowed not only the freedom to dress themselves, have gps enabled devices to make sure they were safe, but also controlled sensory issues that most autistic children have. 

Pretty soon they will even have Kiddie and Adult sizes available, not only for the autistic community but for the elderly as well! Everything they make is designed for the purpose of safety and helping to gain a bit more of an independent life. 

Independence Day Clothing Company

Independence Day Clothing partnered with Phoenix 5 Global Tracking to provide a convenient locator that can be added to most of their clothing optionally; that includes Tech Support. The GPS Locator is called EMPOWER. It weighs less than 1 ounce and is smaller than 1″x2″. The battery has a life of 7 days (under normal performance) which can matter a great deal to families with wanderers. The best part is, the locator also comes with a Personal Alert Button that can send an SMS to 2 mobile phones and unlimited email addresses. This way you can have your whole family making sure that your loved one is safe.

ID offers their GPS device free ($129 Retail Value) exclusively to ID customers, with a one time activation fee of $69.95 plus one month service on a 12 month agreement of $14.95. If you feel you would have trouble paying the GPS Subscription fees, they provide information on how to receive funding through the Justice Department’s Byrne grant program as well.

ID clothing gps tracker

Once Kiddie sizes are available, I will be picking up an outfit for Tot and then I can share our experience with you! We’ve been looking into a tracker for Tot since last summer and this is the best concept I’ve seen. Honestly, there is no competition when it comes to style, sensory and safety. 

You can find more about them on their Facebook Page and/or @IndDay_Clothing. Share your kids ID style and be a part of the Reverse Nation by following on Instagram and/or using #IDreversenation #independenceforall and #IDClothing Hashtags!

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A Walk Around Charbonier Bluffs – St. Stanislaus Conservation Area

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful and interesting NOCO (North County St. Louis) can be when you really look past the news visage. There are all these hidden wild gems tucked on the outskirts that hold historical significance and natural wonders. One of the most incredible stories surrounds around the Charbonier Bluffs centered in St. Stanislaus Conservation Area. The Bluff is a 655 foot treasure that stands 25 feet higher than the St. Louis Arch and not only served as a sacred place for Native Americans, but was a part of the St. Stanislaus Seminary that spanned 1000 acres of apple orchards, wheat fields, vineyards, beehives, shops and ranches. It even held the only winery allowed to operate during the Prohibition.

St. Stanislaus Conservation Area Sign

Most of the acreage (812 acres) has become a conservation area now, with creeks, wetlands and a portion of Bryan Island. Remnants of the past still peek through the foliage, overgrown within the forest grasses, moss and trees. There are 3.5 miles of trekking territory, some with very steep areas; especially if you are hiking up onto the bluffs. We took three trails since we’ve found it. The first was up to the highest peek on Charbonier, the second to walk along the creek bed as far as we could go towards the Missouri River and the third was around the wetlands and over wooden bridges. Since that is a lot to share in one post, I am going to put the wetlands and the forest trails in another. 

La Charbonniere – The Coal Hill

the creek bed at st. stanislaus

We walked up to the bluffs in late March before the trees and greenery would block out most of the view and decided to take the natural trail from the bottom to the towers instead of the easier paved direct access (across from Charbonier Rd) that you can find on the other side. We took Tot with us and kept him close since a lot of the hike will take you very close to the edge.

close to the edge Charbonier Bluffs

Before you get that far up, there are lots of beautiful things to see. I loved standing over the white bridge looking out at the creekbed and watching the water run. The hike keeps you near the creek, but you rise higher and higher and watch it fade off.

Creed bed

We had to cross over a lot of fallen trees on the way up, but outside of that, there isn’t much in the way of the trail. It’s pretty clear and since there wasn’t too much greenery in the way, you could see out over the edge at the land far far in the distance. 

fallen tree

Once you reach near the point where you can overlook the skyline, there are the ruins of an old building with trees piercing out. It’s a small spot, but in one of the most perfect locations to look out over the skyline.

ruins

Then you can move just beyond that and see the world below. Just imagine waking up and being able to watch the sunrise from this vantage point!

the tree

the tree on the corner

But that isn’t even the highest point if you can believe it! We kept marching on through the trails to reach the towers at the peek. This part moves away from the creek up onto the bluff itself. Be careful not to go off the trails into private property.

Happy Trails

From this point on you can really see the ruins of history. There are broken buildings, steps that lead no where and old mounds that long ago used to be Native American burial grounds, but then became a part of the Seminary after excavations.

steps

gateposts

When you reach the gateposts then you have finally made it to the top. Just beyond are the towers where you can watch Hawks swirling overhead. There is the paved path that leads back down the opposite trail as well.

the towers

the paved trail to Charbonier

It was beautiful up there. I kept trying to get pictures of the hawks flying around, but they evaded me. The walk down was just as pleasant and Tot had a great time. Throughout the journey I kept imagining what it would have been like to live there long ago. What the remains must have meant to the Native Americans and settlers who lived together in these parts and how forgotten it’s become in the midst of everything.

trees in st stanislaus

Next time I’ll share with you the journey we took through the wetland trail and alongside the river. We never made it to the boat that takes you to Bryan Island as most of the way was really muddy that afternoon, but it was fun to walk underneath the bluffs that we’d wandered on top of the previous trip. Until then, you can read more about Charbonier Bluffs and the history of St. Stanislaus Seminary by visiting NOCO StL.

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Stock & Save on Spring Cleaning & More at Walmart! + $25 GC Giveaway! {US}

~The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G. Opinions and stories are my own.~

Since April I have been in crazy Spring Cleaning mode. The combination of beautiful weather and a 6 year old make for long afternoons of 80s music and house cleaners. Needless to say, I’ve been stock piling all the tools I can get! The #1 most important cleaning item in our house is paper towels. 1/2 of our home is made up of windows, many of which are floor to ceiling and skimping on low brand paper towels is not an option. Bounty is one of the items in the Stock & Save Event at Walmart right now, so I grabbed this huge deal and Tot helped me take care of business.

Stock Up & Save Event

The event has been running since March 29th and ends next Thursday, April 30th. You can purchase multiple P&G items with great savings, not just spring cleaning products! 

  • Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Tide Simply Clean and Fresh Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Charmin Ultra Soft or Ultra Strong Toilet Paper
  • Bounty Mega Roll Select-A-Size Paper Towels
  • Luvs Super Absorbent Diapers
  • Pampers Swaddlers Huge Pack
  • Tampax Pearl Plastic, Super Absorbency
  • Always Ultra Thin Long Super Unscented Pads
  • Always Discreet Maximum Underwear
  • Always Discreet Moderate Regular Length Pads

You can print or copy the below Stock & Save Event sheet and take it with you on your next shopping trip.

April Stock and Save

Tot and I picked up the Bounty and Charmin deals. You can never go wrong with having a stockpile of paper towels and toilet paper, especially in our house. They’re not only great for cleaning, but also for crafts and apparently car washes. 

Charmin Ultra Strong

If you think about it, feminine products, diapers, toilet paper, paper towels and wash soap are items many of us typically purchase on a regular basis. Stocking up while they are in bulk at a lower price makes perfect sense. It’s always a part of spring cleaning to make room for new things, why not an area for extra items?

And (at least for me) I don’t have to run out of paper towels by the time I am finished with the windows. Especially if Tot is helping with his own rolls.

washing windows

Giveaway: How would you like a $25 Walmart GC to help you Stock Up & Save? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter Form below for your chance to win!

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