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Miami: New center for "neurodiverse young adults opens

Apr 17, 2023, Miami’s Community Newspapers: Center for Neurodiverse Young Adults Opens in Miami to Aid in Transition from School Life to Adulthood

Mayor Karyn Cunningham and Vice Mayor Leanne Tellam welcomed and celebrated the opening of the new neurodiverse learning center, The Rising Start Foundation (TRS), in the area through a ribbon cutting ceremony. The TRS foundation provides a bridge from school life to adulthood through vocational training and employment opportunities to youngsters with Autism and other diagnoses.

According to findings published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, more than 5.4 million people in the U.S. — or 1 in 45 — over age 18 are on the spectrum, and they estimate that over the next five years, 500,000 autism-diagnosed children will transition to adulthood. The possibilities for these young adults to get a post-secondary education and a job are currently, very low….

Unemployment for neurodivergent adults runs as high as 30-40%, which is three times the rate for people with disabilities and eight times the rate for individuals without a disability. “To create a brighter future for the autism community, we need to work harder and smarter for and with individuals with autism across the lifespan. There is so much potential, but it will, as they say, take a village to accomplish all that is needed,” says Dr. Michael Alessandri,

Executive Director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD). “The broader community needs to recognize the value for all in making space for people with autism and design programs and places where their strengths and talents are used and valued.”

The Rising Start Foundation will target the South Florida population aged 14-35, and prepare their students to lead fulfilling and independent lives by providing the academic, behavioral, socio-emotional, life skills tools, and strategies essential to achieving their objectives. But a unique and critical component of TRS is the Vocational Program, whose centerpiece will be the creation of actual operating Business Units where the participants will be trained and have the opportunity for genuine employment in a truly “safe” working environment.

The Rising Start Foundation´s mission is to create a brighter future for neurodiverse young adults, and support them in developing fulfilling and independent lives through innovative life and work skills programs.


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