For parents who have a child with autism, a deep frustration can exist once the child has completed his/her education and faces employment challenges as a young adult. When Park Ridge, IL resident Cindy Montgomery recognized the disconnect between transition services for her son with autism and true employment opportunities for him, she created Teachability, LLC. This organization connects small businesses and young adults with autism by providing them with a unique, pre-employment experience.
After launching its pilot program in October, Teachability has been seeking local small businesses to participate in its pilot program, opening their businesses to a unique population. No autism knowledge or experience is required.
Montgomery’s premise is that inclusion makes financial sense, in addition to being the right thing to do. “Teachability benefits both small businesses and young adults with disabilities like autism,” says Montgomery. “Why not pay a small business to help your child practice job skills?” said Montgomery. “It’s not unlike hiring a tutor to help your child with a particular subject.”
Families will provide a job coach to accompany the participant at all times while they are on site at the business. The job coach acts as the liaison between the business and the participant and relieves much of the responsibility for screening and training. A job coach can be a family member or anyone that the family trusts to be patient and has good communication skills.
This article was featured in Issue 54 – Surviving Family Challenges