Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the individual’s social interactions and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, and leisure or play activities. There are diverse alternatives for younger children with autism, but as they age the opportunities decrease. The Once Loved, Again | Resale Boutique fills a gap in programming for young adults with autism. From a community member:
Low-functioning children seem to have many resources, but high functioning adults with little or no income seem to have more literature to read and online “test” to take than places to actually be evaluated.
MISSION: Once Loved, Again | Resale Boutique provides a hands-on opportunity for young adults with autism to increase their social skills through practical education and support, with the end goal of increasing their employability skills and managing a business.
STATEMENT OF NEED: Once Loved, Again | Resale Boutique addresses a void in services for young adults with autism. According to the Huffington Post (2012), nearly half a million autistic kids will be reaching adulthood in the next decade. In the seven years immediately following high school graduation, 1 in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience, college or technical schooling. That’s a poorer showing than those with other disabilities including those who are mentally disabled. These figures compare with 26 percent of mentally disabled young adults, 7 percent of young adults with speech and language problems, and 3 percent of those with learning disabilities. According to the study published by Pediatrics (2008), those with autism may fare worse because many also have each of the other disabilities studied.
PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Once Loved, Again | Resale Boutique provides a hands-on opportunity for young adults to increase their social skills through practical education and support, with the end goal of increasing their employability skills and managing a business. The Once Loved, Again | Resale Boutique’s focus is to provide a vehicle for job preparedness activities for young adults with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis. Participants will incorporate skills learned through training at the resale store. The boutique’s name derives from the premise that there are many items in the community that once had the love and affection of their owners and now need a new home. Once Loved, Again | Resale Boutique will give new purpose to donated items, helping reduce waste and raise funds for Santiago & Friends | Family Center for Autism.
For store location, hours, and to shop online, visit Once Loved, Again at www.oncelovedagain.org.