Working Together for Autism – The Groden Network

For many people with special needs, learning more than just academics can be a vital and important aspect of their education.


The Groden Center, a Rhode Island school and residential treatment facility for youths with autism and other developmental disabilities, was fortunate enough to receive a $333,000 federal grant.

This school has been both treating and educating students and their families for over 30 years. The majority of this grant money will go towards developing the program they have for vocational training and employment for those people with Asperger’s syndrome. This disorder, which is on the high end of the autism spectrum, often makes social interaction and communication more difficult.

Although they may be slower to develop social relationships, people with Asperger’s syndrome are willing to work hard and are usually reliable and loyal, great characteristics for employees. The vocational program is the perfect opportunity for these students to further enhance the skills necessary to finding and maintaining jobs in the future.

In addition to giving the people skills and information needed for future jobs, it is also useful to provide all other members of society with the information they may need to know when dealing with these members of society, making everyone more aware of people with differences.

Within the first year of the program, participants landed successful jobs or internships including positions in banks, school cafeterias, auto shops and other local businesses. The Groden Center also has future plans to add an academic component to the program, helping participants of the program to continue to further their education while working on the social challenges they come across.

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