Six Special Momtreprenuers Who Are Working to Make a Difference in Our Community
Company: Missing Piece Awareness USA Missing Piece
Awareness, Inc., trains, certifies, supports and promotes businesses to be autism-aware and accepting so they can effectively serve ALL customers.
Her start up: I am a momtrepreneur working to create social change to directly impact the day-to-day lives, and development, of individuals with autism and their families. Along with my two partners, Dianne Porter and Kathleen Grieve, Missing Piece Awareness, Inc., (www.missingpieceusa.com) trains, certifies, supports and promotes businesses to be autism-aware and accepting so they can effectively serve ALL customers. We partner with mainstream businesses and determine what accommodations, modifications and supports are necessary to make their business fully accessible and welcoming to individuals with autism and other disabilities. Dianne Porter and Kathleen Grieve have worked with families who have children with autism for a combined total of 50 years as a BCBA and special educator in homes, schools and the community. I am also a mother to a wonderful son, Emerson, who has autism.
I was, initially, hesitant to bring him into the community and into businesses for fear of judgment, and more importantly, mistreatment, due to his behaviors. Dianne and Kathleen were acutely aware of this gap between a family’s need to have their needs met and understood, and a business’s ability to do so. They understood why parents like myself just found it easier to stay home sometimes.
We train employees to UNDERSTAND autism through a series of hands-on, interactive training sessions and provide them with techniques, tools, strategies and the knowledge to successfully anticipate and meet the needs of individuals and their family with autism. We create social stories, picture schedules and parent primers customized to EACH business to help children with a quicker acclimation to new places and a heightened understanding of what to expect and what is expected of THEM. Finally, we communicate directly with the special needs community to inform them about the business at events such as resource fairs and special needs expos and through outreach to families, agencies, schools, parent organizations and media.
We recognize the brilliance and hidden talents of our children, yet fear they will not be able to meet their full potential without being given the opportunity to fully participate in the community. All children deserve and require the freedom to be active in fully inclusive environments if they are to be able to maximize their potential as they get older and transition into the workforce. The next generation of adults need to be those who have grown up together (autistic individuals and non-autistic peers) and side by side.
(Continued on page 3)
Subscribe to our free email newsletter now to access our free magazine!