Years ago, we had a woman come into our office to announce she had chosen Mission Possible Employment Services to work with her autistic son. I explained that we did not know much about autism, to which she replied, “learn!” I loved her audacity and enthusiasm. She had heard good things about our agency and her mind was set, we were going to work with her son.
We at Mission Possible decided it was time to meet the needs of this population. Speakers came to teach us about working with autistic clients, we went to seminars and asked families to help us understand their family member with autism. We learned.
Gordon, his name for privacy, was one of our first clients. His passion was maps and he memorized maps, streets, and zip codes. We found Gordon a job at a manufacturing plant where he made items with resin and operated a machine. One day his boss said Gordon came to him and said you are shipping this crate to the wrong location. His boss disagreed but trusted Gordon’s abilities, so he checked. Sure enough, Gordon was correct and was asked how he figured out the location was incorrect. Gordon responded that he read the bar code!
Gordon could hold a conversation and still work faster than any other employee. His production was at least twice that of anyone else on staff. Gordon’s autism was a gift to our company and to the business where he worked. Later, I ask for another one or two of my other clients to be hired and was told, “If your other clients are like Gordon, I’ll hire them all and lay everyone else off.”
Gordon has worked at least 15 years for this company and in the next couple of years, he will retire. I know his boss will be sad because Gordon is one of his best workers and has become a good friend. We were happy to learn more about autism so we could help Gordan succeed and we’re happy to learn more to work with other clients as well.