Autism

Giving Invincibility?

It is difficult to describe the incredible feeling that you get when someone believes in you, comes alongside you and when someone invests in you. It is a powerful feeling. For me, it is the closest thing to invincibility I have ever experienced. The feeling that, with people beside me, I can do ANYTHING. Thank you for coming alongside the talented people with autism that we train, showing them that they are worth investing in, and for believing in their incredible talent and value.

135 people, 11 businesses, a Kiwanis club and a church all came together and we raised $42,426 in just ONE day!  We came together from 40 cities in 10 states and 2 countries. We came together because we believe in investing in the incredible talent and value of people on the autism spectrum.

A special thank you to the four families, that have asked to remain anonymous, that provided $16,000 in matching money to help spur us on to greater generosity.

And finally, stay tuned, because we are not yet done. The Dakota Medical Foundation and the Impact Foundation (the brains, brawn and heart behind Giving Hearts Day) provide extra grants as incentives to non-profit organizations to engage more people and do better work. And this year, thanks to all of you, we are in the running for potential additional funds! We find out in April and I promise to keep you updated!

In Gratitude,

Cortnee (for the entire Mind Shift team)

And, in case you missed it, here is the video that our Giving Hearts Day Intern, Kyle, made to help tell our story...

Adding value...

As we put the finishing touches on Business Profiles and resumes for our most recent training cohort, I reflect on the team and what they and I learned in the course of their training. I learned a lot about the common and unique gifts, talents and skills that they each bring to the workplace.

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When asked to talk about himself, one trainee struggled to put two words together but could give an insightful, informative and thorough explanation when asked a question on a technical subject. Another struggles to define what would be “desirable” work for him but consistently chooses the option that challenges notions about those with autism so as to learn, grow and be a better version of himself. The impulse to finish others’ sentences can be difficult to control when your mind is moving at the speed of light. But it seems insignificant when that same compulsive nature is expressed in the desire to be early, loyal, dedicated and do the best work humanly possible.

While the team presented the results of their group project, I celebrated the value they discovered in themselves and eagerly anticipated sharing that discovery with business partners as we give each specialist the opportunity to add value in the workplace.

Speaking of adding value, many thanks to Midco for the value that they added to our training through their donation that purchased training materials.

- Margie Gray

A Blog Post from a Mom helping Mind Shift Change the World!

....As a mom, I will continue to focus on the “here and now”, but I’m more optimistic about his future and the prospects for employment.  If you were to ask my son about what he wants to do in the future, his latest response has typically been something like “I’d like to be famous for something someday and have a museum about my life.”  I can’t wait to find out what that is. 

Tremendously Informative Article about the State of Autism Employment

If you're interested in understanding the "landscape" of autism employment, particularly for young adults. I highly recommend this article (click article to redirect) by Abigail Abrams from the September 24th edition of the Washington Post.

The article does an excellent job of highlighting both the struggles that individuals deal with on a very personal level with the larger trends that are happening in the world of work. Those trends include what Mind Shift knows, people on the autism spectrum make great and productive employees!

Take a look!

 

Thinking Differently about Thinking Differently

We rarely think at all about how people in our social circle or our family think differently from us. We make constant, small assumptions that our common experience gives us a common point of view on how things "should be". Unless, of course, there is conflict. How many times have we thought or said, "what were you thinking?!".

Some differences in thinking have become cliches in our culture. "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by John Gray cemented what was already common knowledge. Our gender can create unique styles in how we function. And now, that concept of difference created by gender is a shared perception. Today, it's a surprise when we find that a member of the opposite sex thinks about things in the same way as us!

People on the autism spectrum experience the world in a way that is different from those who are not on the autism spectrum. Stated in the most straightforward and simplistic way, they think differently. For too long, this different way of thinking has been viewed only as a liability and the behaviors associated with this different way of thinking have been considered completely undesirable.

Perhaps its time to think differently about how people on the autism spectrum think differently. At Mind Shift, we believe that the unique qualities associated with autism spectrum disorder can be valuable if our culture will begin to see the differences as valuable. To make this change a reality, all of us will need to change how we think about the autism spectrum. There is no question that, like everyone, people with ASD have challenges that need to be considered in their daily interactions AND like any person operating in a culture that is filled with people who view the world differently, they need to remember that others may not share their perspective. At the same time, those of us not on the spectrum need to be open to the dramatically different world view that people on the autism spectrum may have. As we open our minds to the difference in how people on the autism spectrum think differently, we will become more aware of how all of the people in our world, both professional and personal, also think differently. And the question will no longer be, "what were they thinking?!", but "why didn't I think of that?!"