Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Legacies For Our Autistic Children

Last summer, our family was greatly impacted by a layoff that lasted nine months. Yes, many of my fellow Americans have had a dry spell of unemployment for much longer than we have had. But frankly, nine months is way long enough. So what have we done about it?

First, like many, signed up for unemployment benefits. Then, started the job search. Then, the wait for unemployment benefits to kick-in. Finally, they kicked-in. Just enough for groceries and gas. Eventually, we tapped our savings.

What happened next? We saw homes in our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, and then throughout our city, sitting abandoned and neglected and falling apart. We were sad. Sad because we were unemployed and because our city was a reflection of the aftermath of unemployment. The physical condition of these properties was a reminder of our own economic despair.

Then what? In looking around and seeing these properties, we decided to start a business to help clean up these properties. I had some internet savvy so I created a free website through Intuit, ordered really nice business cards, rack cards, and t-shirts through Vista Print. I also listed our business on online sites such as Hot Frog and Manta. Within days we received a call from a company who wanted us to be a contractor for them and we received three work orders immediately! We continue our partnership with the first company that gave us our first opportunity and we have since have been added as vendors with other companies. The work is on and off, and it is hard. But it has helped us keep up with the bills.

Our family learned many things together through this experience. We became closer and it taught our children, including our youngest child (with Autism) business, technical and survival skills and built in them a stronger work ethic. We have told our boys that this is the groundwork for future survival because in their lifetimes, it is likely they will live through at least a couple more economic recessions or depressions after this current one. Though we have since been hired by traditional employers, we want to keep our family business going. It is our legacy for our children's future.

Do you have a similar story?
Have you started a business because of your Autistic child?
Please share!

1 comment:

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