Austin Young Adults With Autism Step up to the Table at Spider House Café

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International ‘Give Autism A Chance’ campaign partners with local cafe to showcase the talents and skills of young adults living with autism

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Bella Tommey and Imogen Wakefield Bring Give Autism a Chance Campaign from the UK to Austin, Texas

On April 22, young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will serve lunch to guests at the Spider House Café as part of an international ‘Give Autism A Chance’ campaign to prove that the young adult ASD community can live productive lives and work within a wide range of professional capacities. This campaign is strengthened by a partnership among The Autism Trust UK, The Autism Trust USA (ATUSA), and An Independent Me, a new vocational camp and assisted living environment in Austin for locals with autism. Other young people with autism from all over the world will be showcasing their skills by contributing artwork and crafts for sale at the event.

The Austin event is instrumental in this worldwide campaign to help teenagers and young adults with autism secure jobs. It will also help educate potential employers on the many contributions that people with autism can make when provided opportunities.

The campaign began in April 2011 in the UK when 15-year-old Bella Tommey, inspired by her brother who has autism, launched a café-for-a-day entirely staffed by volunteers with ASD. The campaign first gained momentum on Battlefront, an online TV project that follows a group of young campaigners trying to make a positive effect on the world. The event and ‘Give Autism A Chance’ campaign were a resounding success supported by a host of celebrities and the UK Prime Minister.

Austinite Imogen Wakefield spent the summer 2011 with Bella near London just a few months after the Café for a Day event, when she got to know Bella’s brother, Billy. Imogen and Bella used their time together formulating plans to extend the campaign to Austin. “People who don't know autism and teenagers like Billy may think that a state institution is the only option for an ASD adult,” commented Imogen. “But most of society hasn’t given autism a chance. This is why I was inspired by Bella and The Autism Trust to show the world that people with autism can live purposeful lives when provided with the appropriate level of support,” says Imogen.

According to Dan Burns, Chair of ATUSA, "We are excited to be building the first Autism Trust USA in Austin. Our goal is to link to every one whose life has been transformed by someone living with autism. Please come to Spider House Cafe on April 22 and see what our teens and young adults can do."

An estimated 80 % of people diagnosed with autism are still under the age of 21, and hundreds of thousands are on the brink of aging out of school and other support systems.

According to event co-organizer Bella Tommey, “Our cafe on the 22nd will prove that people like my 15 year old brother, Billy, can put something back into society if only given the chance. Billy is one of millions worldwide; it is crucial we show what they can do rather than what they can't.”
‘Give Autism A Chance’ will be held at Spider House Café located at 2908 Fruth Street, Austin, Texas 78705 on Sunday, April 22 from Noon – 3 p.m. and will feature a specially crafted lunch menu to ensure the day’s staff can serve with success.

Admission to the event is free. Guests are responsible for purchasing their own meals.

Guests are invited to sign up at http://www.giveautismachance.eventbrite.com for one of 3 lunch seatings. Seating is dependent on availability and capacity. Supporters of the cause and event may donate to The Autism Trust USA at the Eventbrite link listed above or at http://www.theautismtrustusa.org.

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Rebecca Otis
LocalizeAustin
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