Autism Acceptance Month

Avante Dennis relishes seeing the customers at Giant enjoy the chocolate chip cookies he helps to prepare as a bakery assistant through Easterseals Supported Employment Program.

NEW CASTLE, DEL. — Avante Dennis of Millsboro is living the dream. He is working at a job he loves and with coworkers who value his work ethic and positivity. He was not always sure his job search would be fruitful until he found Easterseals Supported Employment program which helped his dreams become a reality.

Dennis, who has autism, is a bakery assistant at Giant and really enjoys making the customers happy — especially with chocolate chip cookies, their favorite. After job training, Dennis worked independently with natural supports from his co-workers and ongoing individualized training and coaching to ensure long-term success on the job. He has been a faithful and reliable employee for the past four years and worked as an essential employee through COVID.

“Avante has a great personality and is a pleasure to be around,” Easterseals employment specialist Teyanna Bailey said. “His coworkers always give great reports of how enjoyable it is to work with him. He has a great sense of humor with an awesome work ethic. His coworkers say Avante is the best.”

Easterseals celebrates “National Autism Acceptance Month” in April by highlighting individuals like Avante, and recognizes the many needs of the growing population of people whose lives are touched by autism either personally or by a family member. Easterseals accommodates those needs through a myriad of services offered, including: adult day programs, supported employment services, children’s therapy services, services for caregivers and especially through Camp Fairlee, an accessible camp for children and adult with disabilities.

Although Avante is working, not all people with disabilities are as fortunate to find employment. The unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is more than double that of workers without disabilities. Many people with disabilities want to work, but have not been able to secure jobs because of accessibility and attitudinal barriers. As a result, labor force participation for individuals with disabilities is less than a third of general labor force participation.

Currently, Easterseals works with more than 60 businesses supporting more than 80 individuals with disabilities in competitive employment. To learn more about how Easterseals can help you find the perfect employee for your business, call Jane Schuler at 302-324-4444.

Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore offers a range of services, including children’s therapies, assistive technology, recreational camping, day programs for adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, and respite services for caregivers. To learn more about how Easterseals helps children and adults with disabilities, call 1-800-677-3800 or visit www.de.easterseals.com.

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