Thursday, 23 January 2014

Dad Starts Assembly Business for Autistic Son

I was forwarded this article about Mark Fremmerlid and his son, Brad.  Although it doesn't say specifically, from the description it sounds like Brad is fairly low-functioning: mostly non-verbal and requiring someone with him full time. 

Brad likes to put things together, beginning with Lego kits when he was small and moving on to larger and more complex items.  At one point, his father got the idea to have him start putting things together for other people rather than buying more and more projects for him to complete.

Mark started a business, Made by Brad, where people could hire his son to put together IKEA furniture or other purchases with the dreaded words "some assembly required".  They charge a flat fee of $20.

This is the sort of ingenuity that parents of autistic adults have to come up with.  Just because someone is low-functioning doesn't mean they won't get bored sitting around all day.  I think this is a great option which gives Brad something to do which is both productive and interesting.  They say that a helper accompanies Brad to deal with any communication issues (and presumably to help Brad if he begins to feel uncomfortable).

To me, this story is more inspiring than any of a dozen "cure" stories for autism.  No one is claiming that assembling IKEA furniture is somehow improving Brad's communication or social skills.  It's just something he likes to do and which makes him happy.  That's great and something all parents can aspire to.

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