FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Denise D. Resnik
Denise Resnik & Associates
SARRC ANNOUNCES THE DANIEL JORDAN FIDDLE SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR ADULTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
New scholarship program provides funding for Vocational and Life Skills Training for escalating population of adults with autism spectrum disorders
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, a national autism organization committed to developing and awarding grants to exemplary and replicable programs that address critical needs for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), has collaborated with the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) to establish The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Scholarship Fund for Adults with ASDs. The scholarship program will provide funding for adults with ASDs who could not otherwise afford to participate in the vocational and life skills programs at SARRC's Vocational and Life Skills Academy (VSLA) located in Phoenix, Arizona.
The number of adults with ASDs is burgeoning. Within the next 15 years, more than 500,000 children with ASDs will enter adulthood. SARRC's academy is designed to help this growing population of young adults and adults with ASD express interest in potential careers while learning necessary life skills that will enhance their ability to live and work more independently. The academy works to model best-practices in the area of vocational and life skill development with community integrated programs that include mentoring and staff support.
SARRC's vocational and life skills training programs exemplify our goals as an organization to create and expand suitable and sustainable opportunities for all adults challenged by ASDs to participate in and contribute to community life, said Linda Walder Fiddle, founder and director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation. Our mutual commitment will be a role model for others to focus on these goals as well.
Scholarship funds will be used to expand participation in the VSLA's Vocational Opportunities for Individualized Career Experiences (VOICE) program. In addition to job skills, VOICE provides individuals with ASDs continuing education, training, support and life and social skills development that will enhance their employment skills.
SARRC is thrilled to be collaborating with The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, said Jeri Kendle, SARRC Vocational & Life Skills director. Our mission is to ensure that adults with ASD are employed in meaningful jobs that promote independence and enriching experiences. This scholarship fund is allowing us to offer services to a rapidly growing population of adults living with autism who are excited and willing, but not currently able to afford to participate in these valuable programs.
The VOICE program collaborates with local and national employers like Outback Steakhouse, CVS Pharmacy, PetSmart, Hensley & Co. and McDonald's to provide job training and support for individuals with autism.
We know that having a job empowers individuals to become productive members of society, contributes to their self-confidence, and acknowledges their value and contributions to local communities, Kendle said. ÒNationally the unemployment rate for adults with autism spectrum disorders is 90 percent. We are doing everything in our power to improve those numbers and weÕre having success. In the last year, 110 individuals have enrolled in the VOICE program and 39 are actively employed, even in these tough economic times. It is exciting to know that The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Scholarship Fund will allow our team to empower a greater number of adults with autism.
The Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, founded in 1997, is a nonprofit, community-based organization in Phoenix, Arizona, dedicated to autism research, education and outreach to individuals with autism and their families. SARRC undertakes self-directed and collaborative research, serves as a satellite site for national and international projects, and provides up-to-date information, training and assistance to families and professionals about ASDs. In 2009, as part of the commitment to provide a lifetime of support for individuals with ASDs, SARRC opened the Vocational and Life Skills Academy designed to help young adults and adults with ASDs express interest in potential careers while learning necessary life skills that will enhance their ability to live and work more independently. For more information, visit www.autismcenter.org.
About the The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, a 501 (c)(3), was established to develop, advocate for and support programs through grant awards that enrich the lives of adolescents and adults with ASDs. The foundation is the only national organization that focuses exclusively on program development and support for autism and adults and has been a primary national catalyst since 2002 in bringing the needs of adults with ASDs to public awareness. The guiding principle of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is to honor the individuality of each person with an ASD so that each may participate throughout their lifetime in vocational, recreational, educational and residential opportunities that are suitable, stimulating and sustainable and allow for maximum integration in the community. Quality of life issues, including health and wellness throughout the lifespan, awareness about co-morbid health conditions and the development of positive support systems for adults on the spectrum are an integral part of the foundation's mission. For more information, visit www.djfiddlefoundation.org