Inside the Story: High Sierra Industries helps students with autism

Inside the Story: High Sierra Industries helps intellectually challenged students

For families caring for children with autism, it's often a full-time job that can even get tougher once that child ages into adulthood.

Even if they've been preparing for years, the autism epidemic will almost certainly lead to wait lists, government funding shortfalls and endless piles of paperwork.

"We need proactive thinking and respite and help for families. We need creative ways to help families without the entire burden of that issue," said Dr. Larry Williams with UNR's Behavior Analysis Program.

At High Sierra Industries, they are putting the plan in motion to try and help not only with the transition into adulthood but with everything that comes with it. From helping to find a job, to helping them find a place to live to assisting with transportation.

"Each person has different needs," said Mark Malady, who teaches HIS's Career Development Academy.

In regards to intellectually-challenged students moving beyond entry-level jobs, he said, "Regardless of your diagnosis, you can figure out how to get it. It's going to take a lot of work, question is...are you committed enough to achieve it?"

Seeing a huge need for affordable applied behavior analysis assessments, HIS's CEO LaVonne Brooks challenged her team to come up with an evidence based plan that worked.

She explained, "Can we not make this an evidence based practice that puts out an effective assessment, and do it in less time and in less money so practically anyone can afford it?"

HSI partnered with the university and their career development academy was born. We met at a roundtable with some of their success stories.

Troy Garbett was in and out of jobs before he took the class. Now he's working for the BLM as a back-up supervisor.

"I train people, I clean, and there are no limits," he said.

Brooks says that concept is paramount here. "That whole notion of continuous development doesn't stop with typical people, it's really for all of us, we want that for our lives."

RELATED LINK | Inside the Story: Children with autism transition to adulthood

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