When someone on the autism spectrum reaches the age of 22, they face the danger of “falling off the cliff,” finding themselves unemployed and without the structure of a school system to help guide them in their life.
One family is so determined to keep that from happening to their brother and son, they started a business for him, learning that his disability has many positives as well.
The Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Florida, was started in 2013 by John D’Eri and his son, 25-year-old business school graduate, Tom. John’s other son and Tom’s younger brother Andrew D’Eri is diagnosed with autism and works at the car wash.
So far, 35, or 81%, of its 43 employees has autism, which is giving hope to the 90% of adults with autism who are unemployed. The D’Eris plan to expand to three locations by 2016 and boost employment numbers up to 150.
The D’Eri family quickly found that the process-oriented, step-following, and attention to detail characteristics of many of their new employees lead them to excel at the car wash.
John D’Eri explains in the video, “I don’t want him to sit in a room, taken care of by others once I’m gone. I want him to have a life. I want him to have a job, I want him to have friends who are like him, so this car wash creates an answer for Andrew, and also creates an answer for their mom, whose taken care of him and has done all the heavy lifting.”