A Local Autism Non-profit Inspires Change

Spectrum Designs: Joshua operating machine
Joshua operating machine, Photo provided by Spectrum Designs

A Local Autism Non-profit Inspires Change

April is National Autism Acceptance Month, and this local nonprofit, Spectrum Designs, celebrates its strides in building acceptance in our community with the drop of its latest campaign, “Out of the Box.” This campaign not only educates and informs but also inspires change. It underscores the urgent need for more inclusive workspaces that recognize the strengths of those on the autism spectrum.

Spectrum Designs: the the best things can be done
The the best things can be done, Photo provided by Spectrum Designs

Understanding Autism

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, is defined as “a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave.” Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because of the range in which it can affect each person. All in all, autism can look different for everyone who is on the autism spectrum; no one person experiences ASD the same way. As seen in their video, this year for National Autism Acceptance Month, Spectrum Designs created a campaign that can educate and challenge the beliefs of those who continue to put neurodiverse individuals into a box. 

As reported by the National Autistic Society, “only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment, while 32% are in some kind of paid work.” This is a stark reality, but one that can be changed. Many autistic adults, like most, want to work, and Spectrum Designs campaign is a glimmer of hope, showing that change is possible.

Be sure to check out 5 Autism Books that are Perfect for the Family Library

Benefits of Neurodiversity in the Workplace

In a study published by the National Library of Medicine, “The Strengths and Abilities of Autistic People in the Workplace,” Rosie Cope, MA, and Anna Remmington, PhD, aimed to find the strengths of employed autistic people to help identify some key abilities that can ultimately help them find jobs they enjoy. The study found that “the main strengths identified from these data revealed cognitive advantages such as superior creativity, focus, and memory; increased efficiency and personal qualities such as honesty and dedication; and the ability to offer a unique autism-specific perspective.” It showed that people with autism have several unique strengths that can significantly enhance any workplace if given the opportunity. 

Spectrum Designs: Winston taking shirts off dryer!
Winston taking shirts off dryer, Photo provided by Spectrum Designs

Spectrum Designs created a space that celebrates the strengths of those in the neurodiverse community. 

Spectrum Designs Mission & Products

This custom apparel and promotional products business, with two locations, one in Pleasantville and another in Port Washington, is not just a business; it’s a beacon of inclusivity, deeply rooted in its mission: ‘to create meaningful and inclusive employment and vocational training opportunities for people in a neurodiverse world.’ With over half of its workforce comprising individuals on the Autism Spectrum, Spectrum Designs is not just talking about acceptance; they are living it. Their unwavering commitment to understanding and supporting all members of the neurodiverse community sets a powerful example. 

As stated in their FAQ, “100% of sales from every order go towards the ongoing expansion and advancement of hiring and retaining an inclusive and integrated culture.” 

Spectrum Designs: sherri smiling at wotk
Sherri smiling at work, Photo provided by Spectrum Designs

They offer many options for anyone looking for screen printing, embroidery, heat transfers, DTG (direct-to-garment printing), promotional products, or graphic design services. They also assist with post-production and even host pop-up shops. Spectrum Designs carries an extensive list of brands like Carhartt, Dickies, The North Face, Puma, Nike, and American Apparel, just to name a few. It’s your local one-stop shop for all of your custom apparel needs. Whether you need help with uniforms and workwear or need to buy custom shirts for a family get-together, they are worth checking out. 

Employment Opportunities

If you or someone you know is interested in working at Spectrum Designs, send your resume and cover letter to [email protected]; they will keep your resume on file. If job supports are needed, Spectrum suggests contacting The Nicholas Center, an organization they work directly with that provides a Supportive Employment Program in which they supply vocational training and work readiness skills to adults on the autism spectrum or related disabilities.