Individuals with autism are capable of great things in the workforce. Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester visited Autism Delaware’s community-based vocational services program to see how individuals with autism can be supported toward success in a variety of roles.
Congresswoman Blunt Rochester visited the program – called POW&R, or Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation – at Christiana Hospital. POW&R works by partnering with more than 90 businesses throughout Delaware. The relationship with the Christiana Health System is one of the longest standing, and most successful examples of how businesses, providers, families and individuals can work together to achieve employment success for those on the autism spectrum.
“It was truly impressive to see the community come together to support employment for individuals with autism,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “I was inspired by the way each individual is served according to their personal abilities and needs, as well as the way in which everyone involved works together toward a common goal – an amazing example of how to create success together.”
“POW&R has been doing this work for more than 10 years, thanks to its dedicated staff and all the businesses that see the incredible value individuals with autism bring to the workforce,” said Susan Patel, mother to a POW&R participant in Sussex County. “As a family we’ve seen firsthand what a difference POW&R vocational supports can have in the lives of the individuals served. They each have skills and abilities that can make them great employees and POW&R helps bring those abilities to the surface and put them to work.”
For more information about POW&R, visit autismdelaware.org or call 302-224-6020 in northern Delaware and 302-644-3410 in southern Delaware. You can learn about Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s work in Washington D.C. by visiting bluntrochester.house.gov.
About autism spectrum disorder and Autism Delaware
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that includes impairment in social interaction and social communication. Individuals with ASD also exhibit repetitive patterns of behavior or interest that limit everyday functioning. An intellectual or language impairment is also possible. All these symptoms will first appear in early childhood.
In the Delaware public school system, 152 students received an educational classification of autism in 1991, but for the 2017–18 school year, 2,109 students have the classification. This number omits the adults or children who are not currently being served by the school’s special-education system.
Autism Delaware is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit made up of individuals with ASD, their family members, the professionals who serve them, and friends of people with ASD. The agency’s mission is to help people and families affected by ASD. With offices in Newark, Dover, and Lewes, Autism Delaware serves the entire state.
Autism Delaware’s programs and services are supported by state contracts and generous donations from individuals and corporations across Delaware. Fundraising events, such as the statewide Walk for Autism, help provide the income needed to make critical programs a reality. For more information on how to help, visit AutismDelaware.org.
Photo Caption: Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester visited Autism Delaware’s POW&R adult vocational services at Christiana Hospital on Monday. Photo left to right: Frank Vignuli from CIS, Project Search Statewide Coordinator; Terri Corbo, Vice President, Pharmacy Services;
Melissa Tice Martin, POW&R Assistant Director; Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester; Susan Patel, Parent from Sussex; Katina Demetriou, POW&R Director; Angela Hanson, Project Search Instructor