A Canadian Bookstore Is Run Entirely by People With Autism
Young people with autism face many challenges when looking for jobs. It’s hard for them to get hired, and in a tough job market, these young adults are competing for positions against many others who have the same, if not more, qualifications than them. Part of the problem comes from the stigma of having autism. On top of that, it’s difficult for people with autism to gain experience for their resumes. These are only some of the reasons why many employers often overlook autistic applicants.
When looking for jobs, young people face many obstacles, and those with autism endure even more due to the stigma accompanying their condition. These young adults are competing for positions in a tough job market against many others who have the same qualifications. Moreover, it’s difficult to gain experience, so such applicants can be overlooked by employers sometimes.
In order to grow and learn, people with autism need opportunities to do so, which can be difficult for them to find. Some, for example, have trouble with interaction and communication. Thus, understanding social cues and partaking in effective communication becomes difficult. Some autistic individuals are outgoing and humorous, but others are incredibly shy and nonverbal. If given a chance, though, they can grow with experience and work on improving their communication skills. Finding the right environment for autistic people can be a challenge since they have special learning needs. There has to be a good understanding between employers and employees, which not everyone is willing to implement.
For young people with autism, a bookstore in New Brunswick is the perfect place. They work in an optimal environment and also learn to be valuable members of society. The employees with autism who work as staff there build on their communication skills.
Three years ago, the organization Autism Miramichi founded the bookstore ARM Book Nook. Funding for it was initiated through the annual March of Dimes event. The community wholeheartedly supported the store, and prior to its opening, it received over 10,000 book donations.
The promotional idea of the bookstore came from a student who envisioned his own peers running the store, learning valuable skills and providing a beneficial service to the local community. Here, young adults with autism are not just employees, but are active participants in the business planning as well.
The head of the Board of Directors says this bookstore gives these individuals a purpose in their lives to get up every morning and do something meaningful. Many have come out of their shells, overcome the communication challenges associated with autism, and learned to cope with it. This has made many individuals confident, friendly, and outgoing. They can now shine in their own community. They also gain self-confidence through the interviewing process.
The bookstore is kept professional and well-organized. From cataloging to communication skills to general organization skills, the employees have learned them all and more. Staff members inspect the quality of the books and catalog them for sale. The entire community loves this bookstore, and it is wildly successful; many customers have become regulars. Several employees who worked there have also moved on to other jobs after gaining confidence through this experience. These individuals are now able to showcase their true value and self-worth. Although an outside organization and donations from the community originally funded the program, this bookstore is now becoming profitable and self-sustaining, and the young adults running it are gaining invaluable life experiences. Everyone needs to make a living for themselves, and this innovative bookstore ensures that young adults with autism are not left out of the community.