I’m often taken back when I hear people relaying stories of negative experiences they’ve had with those in the general working community whether it be a waiter, mechanic, store clerk, cashier or perhaps even a volunteer. Many stories end with making fun of the person for making mistakes or angry with them for not moving fast enough. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder and other communication disorders have trouble holding jobs because, although they have great strengths, communication issues can break down those strengths when dealing with the public under stressful circumstances.
I said countless prayers of thanks to the wonderful people out there who came into contact with my son as he was growing up and encouraged him with kind words. They will never know that they were instrumental in his journey to a full life and a belief in himself that he could accomplish anything. My son had been labeled very young with what was then called Pervasive Developmental Disorder, under the autism umbrella, and although he struggled with many challenges, he had great strengths. We tried to always support anything positive that he wanted to do and he wanted nothing more in the world than, at 14-years old, to be a busboy at our neighborhood Italian restaurant.