Quincy, Mass. — The May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph, Mass. is very much aware of the pressing issue brought about by the fact that the rate of individuals with autism is growing exponentially— that many of them are now turning into adults, and that those who are already adults are having a hard time trying to find the means to support themselves.
It is for this reason that the school decided to open the Todd Fournier Center for Employment Training and Community Inclusion three years ago.
The Todd Fournier Center hopes to equip young adults with autism with all the life skills that they need for them to be able to survive and support themselves by the time their adult life formally comes, which is also the same time their special education services comes to an end— at age 22.
One of the students at the center is 19-year-old James Fishkind. When he first got into the Todd Fournier Center, James was aggressive and displayed “self-injurious” and repetitive behaviors brought about by his autism.
These days, James is no longer destructive and is now able to man the school store all by himself at least once a week, and he is also currently employed at a convenience store where he works eight hours a week.
According to May Center’s vocational coordinator, Nick Wagner:
“It’s a long process to give them the tools, and when they have the skills, it’s very challenging to find workplaces… There are thousands of adults with autism who could work but aren’t. They want to contribute and know that sense of purpose.”
Students at the Todd Fournier Center are trained, guided, and educated in the center, and are given assistance in finding volunteer or paid jobs as they graduate from the program.
Source: Jodi Feinberg in The Patriot Ledger The May Center in Randolph prepares young adults with autism to find a place at work