It’s a scary question for many people with autism and their parents: “What will happen to me/my child after I/she/he age(s) out of the system?” The statistics of employment are pretty bleak for people on the spectrum: up to 90 percent of them are unemployed or underemployed. Though people with autism are more than capable of doing fantastic work in a meaningful job, they often struggle to obtain and maintain employment status.
That’s why one dad, John D’Eri, started a car-washing business to help Andrew, his son—and other individuals—with autism.
At Rising Tide Car Wash, autism is not a condition to be pitied; it is a valuable aspect of human diversity and, in the words of Tom, Andrew’s brother, “one of [Rising Tide’s] key competitive advantages.” Over 80 percent of their employees are on the autism spectrum, and these individuals offer the company a lot of good, with strengths like attention to detail and natural affinity for structure. As proof of that, business at Rising Tide has been a huge success. Employees clean an average of 17,000 cars(!) per month, and there are hopes of opening a second location sometime in the future.
Of course, the company itself isn’t the only one who benefits: the employees on the spectrum do, too. They’re gaining valuable job experience, strengthening their socialization and professional skills, and striving to meet their goals—whether that means continuing with the company or going off and doing whatever they’ve always dreamed of doing.
Check out the video below to learn more about this awesome business!
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.