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By Dirk Perrefort

DANBURY — A grass-roots effort is giving new hope to adults with autism who are looking for career opportunities.

“In the next couple of years there will be a wave of kids on the autistic spectrum who will be getting out of school and looking for employment,” said Joan Volpe, the vice president of Connecticut services for the Bethel-based Ability Beyond Disability. “And we don't have enough programs in place designed to help them be successful.”

That's why Volpe and others who are equally concerned created Growing Possibilities, a not-for-profit business enterprise that provides employment and vocational training for those with autism, as well as other disabilities, through growing and selling roses.

The effort began with the father of an autistic child who was worried about his son's future.

Jim Lyman, of Madison, said he had many sleepless nights, with his 17-year-old son, Eli, getting toward the end of available educational services, and knowing there were no vocational services for autistic adults.

“That's the biggest concern of parents who have children on the spectrum,” Lyman said. “When I tell them about this program, they are usually incredibly emotional.”

Lyman, who has a background in agriculture, was able to create a business model with other autism advocates who had similar concerns, and it eventually made its way to Ability Beyond Disability.

Read Article in Full: http://www.newstimes.com/ci_12909647

For more information on Growing Possibilities, log onto www.growingpossibilities.org or www.abilitybeyonddisability.org

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