AST Offers Hope to Adults With Autism and Help to Local Employers
1 in 59 adults in America are now estimated to be on the autism spectrum. Most want to work, live independently and pursue their dreams but to some, this can seem impossible due to serious gaps in the social services system after age 21. That’s where Adult Spectrum Transitions comes in, offering life-changing opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum who may otherwise struggle to find employment, housing or transportation.
AST is fueled by the passion of co-founder Tim Newman, the father of twin adult sons, William and David, who were both diagnosed with autism at 4 years of age.
The Rock Hill-based non-profit opened its doors on Wednesday, August 22, with more than 90 people present to cut the ribbon including: Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys, SC State Representatives Gary Simrill and Bruce Bryant, members of the York County Chamber as well as Newman and his sons. This WBTV On Your Side segment helps tell the story.
AST focuses on five different career fields: hospitality, logistics, pet care, transportation and manufacturing. Though the program is starting out small with a pilot program of 15 adults this Fall, Adult Spectrum Transitions has hopes of serving 300 adults over the first three years and eventually expanding throughout the Charlotte region and beyond.
“The core mission of our program is to match the skills and interests of adults with autism with the needs of employers in jobs the employers are often finding hard to fill,” says Newman. “AST will partner with employers to smooth any bumps in the road of employing our candidates. For our adults that need transportation and housing options, we will provide those too but it all starts with the job.”
A long time Autism advocate in the Carolinas, Tim’s servant leadership includes:
● founding the Carolinas Chapter of NAAR/now Autism Speaks in 2003 and serving on the board for 15 years
● serving as a charter Board Member of and ultimately chairing the North Carolina Business Leadership Network which works to develop jobs and markets for those with developmental disabilities.
● participating in the Development Advisory Committee for the Greenwood (S.C) Genetics Center that is developing a blood-based test for autism and its partnership with Project Hope for autism services in Upstate South Carolina.
● volunteering with Victory Sports Outreach, a sports ministry whose offerings include a Conquer League for individuals with special needs, in Fort Mill, SC.AST offers hope as well as life skills that often feel out of reach for adults on the autism spectrum. There are many ways to help. You can volunteer, make a donation, shop AST’s wish list and help spread the word about the program to both employers and adults on the autism spectrum. Employers who need help filling jobs should email email@example.com.