A Young Autistic Man Finds Success and Independence in Meaningful Work – Thanks to Woodrow Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Virginia
Parents, teachers, siblings, friends, the community, and the government – both state and federal, want autistic people to be independent; both financially and personally. An initial investment in resources and facilitation can produce a lifetime of benefits to people with autism. A working person, regardless of disabilities, isn’t a burden on society. Quite the contrary, they earn money and pay taxes. Unfortunately, it is hard to be optimistic because there aren’t many success stories to raise the hopes of those experiencing this challenge. There isn’t enough recognition for those institutions that are providing these invaluable services. There is too much attention on limitations and not enough on possibilities. Many people feel helpless and discouraged. Let’s look at a success story – successful because of advocate parents, early intervention, and facilitation and utilization of available resources like Woodrow Wilson Workforce and Rehab Center.
Listen to the amazing podcast of a graduate from WWRC, Alexander P. Cullison. http://vrworkforcestudio.com/ His is a success story that should inspire all that are in a similar situation. Alexander was misdiagnosed when he was a toddler as retarded and remanded to “one size fits all” special education classes until appropriate classroom accommodations could be negotiated. Few believed he could obtain a conventional high school diploma, but he did. He acted in school plays and participated in Special Olympics basketball. Teachers, counselors, and his parents worked hard to help him, but none worked so diligently as Alexander, plowing through the limiting “Rain Man” stereotype. Given the opportunity to attend WWRC (https://www.wwrc.net/) , Alexander lived in a dormitory, away from home, and learned database management. WWRC also provided a driver’s education course that ultimately resulted in his getting a driver’s license.
Shortly upon graduation (2009), Alexander was hired for a job with CSC (now CSRA). As a clerk/administrative assistant, he works with client fulfillment related to mail and other related services. Having worked for almost a decade, driving to his job in the worst traffic in the nation, he is a contributing member of our society. He works hard, saves for retirement, pays taxes, and travels on vacation whenever he can.
You can read about his life story in a short biography, “A Journey of Inches” at Amazon: http://a.co/2Lso2Aw
Dr. Alex Cullison
VR Workforce Studio