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Making social skills “shine”

Leslie Brown

I love it when people think “outside the box”, which leads to about the only thing my writing partner and I disagree on; modern art! This story is about thinking outside the box, and it has lead to surprising rewards.

We all have talents and gifts. Sometimes it’s just a matter of thinking outside the box to find them, and this couple sure did. The D’Eri family has a child with autism who had trouble landing a job. His father is a veteran entrepreneur, and has another son who is a business major, so they sought to find a business that would be well suited to employing autistic individuals.

The Rising Tides Car Wash in Parkland, Florida has become a success story; it now employs 35 autistic men and women.

“Typically people with autism are really good at structured tasks, following processes, attention to detail,” Tom D’Eri said. “So we saw that they’re really important skills that people with autism have that make them, in some case, the best employees you can have.”

And since many autistic people are bullied in high school, he said working at the car wash helped them build confidence.

“They come to us with very little purpose and very little hope for their future,” D’Eri said in the video. “But once they start working with us they start getting positive reinforcement of doing a good job, a customer being happy, getting a tip, that really starts to open them up.”

Working at the carwash is “stretching” the employees and improving their social skills, and the quality of their life. Way to go D’Eri family!


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