Local program helps adults with autism become independent through one skincare product at a time

CLEVELAND - Living independently, something that comes naturally for most of us, but adults with autism, it’s not as easy, which is why one local group is trying to help them through life’s hurdles with one special job.

A job that Andrew Wax’s father says is beneficial for his son.

“Andrew seems to enjoy succeeding at tasks or given the ability to have I think some autonomy,” said Mark Wax, whose 25-year-old son is part of the Lifeworks program.

It’s a nonprofit organization helping adults with autism have more independent lives by providing opportunities for them to learn, engage socially, and participate in meaningful work, like selling products in a skincare boutique.

Even though Wax’s son is unable to speak, he said that’s not a limitation to pursuing quality of life.

“He can expand essential his horizons, deliver a bit better skill set on a regular basis, in order for him to achieve or optimize both his happiness, his ability to function within a community, and just be generally a much happier person,” he said.

Program leaders say that’s the goal. All it takes is a bar of soap, a bottle of lotion, and candles, made from scratch then packaged and sold to costumers.

The money they make at the boutique goes back into the program to help sustain the business.

In teaching these real-life business skills, Lifework’s Vocational Project Coordinator, Anna Hayes, hopes to help each of them eventually seek long-term employment. 

“We’re working on more job site skills, we’re working on increasing independence and their communication skills,” she said.

For Autism Awareness month this April, Lifeworks is holding a special sale on all their skincare products at their main campus boutique in Cleveland Heights.
 
 

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