What to know: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of children have celebrated their birthdays at home, but Nicky Christopher is making sure these occasions do not go by unnoticed. The 12-year-old, who is on the autism spectrum, created “Birthday Lawn Bandit,” a Pennsylvania-based party business to help spread joy and sunshine in his community. He rolls up with custom decorations to deck out the front lawn of kids celebrating birthdays or graduations.
It’s all about making a difference in the world that we live in today. — Nicky Christopher, ABC-6
The Frontlines: Millions of children are on the spectrum, but work opportunities once they grow up are still difficult to find.
A 2015 study found that between the ages of 18 and 25, only 58% of autistic people find paid work, compared to 99% of their typical peers
Another study found that those who worked during high school were more likely to have a paying job after graduation, highlighting the importance of earlier work opportunities for young autistic people
Like Christopher, many young autistic people start their own businesses to create opportunities for themselves and others on the spectrum
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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Peter Craig-McFeely, shared what it was like finding a job as an autistic person. “Some employers like people who fit within the corporate box, often just like themselves. Have you ever tried to squeeze yourself into someone else’s box? They are restrictive, uncomfortable and generally fit someone else better than you. This is what it feels like working in a place that does not take into account an autistic person’s needs.” You can submit your first person story, too.
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Other things to know: For more information about what it’s like living on the spectrum, check out these Mighty articles:
More helpful thinking: You can learn more about Christopher’s Birthday Lawn Bandit on Facebook here. And if you’re local, ABC-6 reported the family relies on donations to keep the business affordable.