Wicked Sheets is now a Vocational Training Facility for Autistic Teens and Adults!
When I was a little girl, there was a little boy in my brother’s ENT doctor’s office that I would see on our frequent visits there. He always rocked back and forth, covered his ears, and made sounds that I thought, at the time, were funny. Even as a 5 or 6-year-old, I remember not being afraid of his repetitive movements and sounds but yearning to be his friend. I wanted to go over to build blocks and show him my Highlights magazine. I just didn’t know how…
Fast forward to my junior year at Bellarmine University, and the first day of my college internship. I chose a placement at Turning Point for Autism. I was assigned my first one-on-one client, a tiny, bubbly little blonde-haired angel whose main goal was increased communication. Within the first 15 minutes of our session, I reached to turn off her movie, so we could get to work (a seemingly innocent move in my inexperienced little head) and she spit right in my face. It was at that moment that a) I learned her communication style and b) I fell in love with this population of learners.
Each family I was assigned to or child I was fortunate enough to work with over my 9 years as an Autism Intervention Specialist had a similar, yet distinctly different story, and each one a growing place in their therapist’s heart. I learned so many lessons in that career, but the most important lesson was to be an advocate for someone who may not have a voice, or be able to effectively communicate that voice.
As Wicked Sheets began to grow, I gradually pulled myself out of the therapist role and focused full-time as a CEO growing a business, but when I left I vowed that I would continue to affect the Autism community in some way, shape, or form.
In 2014, as WAVE 3 so wonderfully announced in this clip, I shared my desire to hire stay-at-home parents of kids with disabilities. Knowing firsthand the struggles with scheduling appointments, unexpected school absences, dual-parenting obligations, etc., I hoped that Wicked Sheets could offer a safe and flexible work-life balance for these parents. As long as we could get orders filled and meet our shipments, the work would be flexible enough for them to come in as they pleased and even bring their child into “work” if they were sick or left without childcare.
Since that declaration we’ve been fortunate enough to have hired 3 Moms of kiddos with disabilities and now we’d like to announce that we’re officially an approved Vocational Training location for the learners at the Bluegrass Center for Autism’s Mid-City Mall campus!
Don’t just take it from me, look at what CEO Eric Ronay had to say about his experience, “ECO-CELL and the BCA have been partnered for over 4 years now. Our recycling work has a lot of repetition and continuity and the students from BCA really respond to it. The real take away though is how much ECO-CELL has gotten out of the experience. Bill and his students are positive, playful and kind and it is a blessing to have them in our lives. We started as coworkers, became friends and are now family.”
This Vocational Training Program is designed to help learners gain valuable life skills and career readiness skills through hands-on experience in a variety of industries. Businesses varying from small to large will benefit from inviting these eager workers into their establishments. Driven and accompanied by a behavior specialist, these workers will help your organization increase efficiency and productivity in a variety of tasks. Our BCA group typically brings 1-2 workers one day a week, accompanied by Mr. Bill Barber and they help Ms. Maureen, our Fulfillment Manager, put product labels in our packages. It’s fun to have them here and I know that Maureen appreciates the extra help!
To join Wicked Sheets as a Vocational Training Center for Louisville learners, please contact the Program Director, Bill Barber at BBarber@BluegrassCenterforAutism.org – and prepare to be amazed by the work ethic and talent of these young men and women. Check out part I and part II of our story from last year, too!