Valley program teaches young adults with autism how to make unique gifts

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - From learning to earning, the Seeds for Autism program expands far beyond teaching young adults with autism basic skills.

"For young adults with autism who have struggled with communication and behavioral, this is a place where they can shine," said Mary Ann LaRoche, founder of Seeds for Autism. "They get to learn step-by-step how to work all these different departments and work in the woodworking and the ceramics and the jewelry making. Everything that we do here, the students have their hands on."

Working year-round to prepare for their holiday open house this weekend, the students are selling their handcrafted items, making for a special holiday gift.

A wide range of unique products, from sewing, soap-making and ornaments, to product photography, and mailing and shipping their orders. They are involved in every aspect of what it takes to run a business.

"To keep it running, it's a big organization with a lot of tools and material, so all of the money goes right back into the program itself and then the students get a portion throughout the year of some of the money they earned," LaRoche said.

Seeds for Autism