As a parent with a child recently diagnosed with autism, I’ve thought long and hard about what will happen to my son if I’m not around.  One of the many goals of early intervention and therapeutic treatment is to prepare my son to live independently as an adult, whether or not I’m around to help him.

Unfortunately this approach is relatively new when it comes to diagnosing and treating autism, which means that many adults with autism didn’t get learn what they needed to in order to function independently.  Dan Selec noticed that adults with autism were more likely to be unemployed, depressed, and socially isolated after they aged out of the many programs designed for school-aged children with spectrum disorders.

Selec decided to start the nonPareil Institute in Plano, Texas.  What began in Selec’s own living room is now a flourishing program with its own facilities that provides ” technical training, employment and housing to individuals who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder”.  Write Selec:

At nonPareil Institute, we focus on three areas that will answer that question: Train, work and live. We provide technology training to adults on the autism spectrum. We mentor them into becoming functioning members of our working product teams. They build products and release them to the market (we have six apps in the App Store now). With parental, donor and product support, our crew members can live on campuses that are built to meet their needs for a lifetime.

Read more about Selec and the nonPareil Institute in this special post on CNN.com’s The Next List.

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