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Eric has had his Challenges with Autism but has Learned From his Past

Eric when he was younger with his family
Eric when he was younger with his family

Eric, who is a client with the Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Supported Employment program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, shared his experience growing up with autism and how he has faced his challenges head on to persevere and succeed. We love what we had to say!

Q. What challenges have you faced?

A. My biggest challenge is having autism. As a child, it was hard to feel like the only one who was different. I also had numerous behavior issues including anger, lashing out, running away, and hiding. As an adult, my greatest challenge has been finding meaningful employment. The COVID restrictions caused me to lose my former job.

Q. How did you face those challenges?
A. I developed support in the form of a homeschool behavior management plan. With maturity and growing up, I realized that acting on anger and frustration doesn’t solve problems. I also found positive role models and my faith journey. Being in a family where unconditional love and support were present has also been very important. In addition, TMI helped me to obtain employment through the process of job development. I learned how to search for jobs, fill out job applications, and how to respond to interview questions.
Eric & Simon
Eric & Simon

Q. How did that make you feel?

A. Overcoming challenges and knowing that I can overcome difficult situations makes me feel good and demonstrates my resilience.

Q. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A. I enjoy spending time with my friends. We go places, watch TV and play games. I also enjoy spending time with Simon, our Norwegian Forest cat, and watching the news, as well as participating in local and national politics.

Q. Is there anything else that you would like to share? A. After I got over my anger issues as very young child, I have been very happy. I always had friends to play with and things to do in the neighborhood. I truly enjoy being social and care about people.

Eric working for San Diego Maid Brigade to help generate business
Eric working for San Diego Maid Brigade to help generate business

Q. What are your hopes for the future?
A. I hope to live independently, be financially secure and get married.

"I love working with Eric and I hope that all of his dreams come true," said his TMI Job Coach Mary Hanson. "I appreciate that he is not afraid to be different from others his age and that he is willing to stand up for his political beliefs. He keeps abreast of current events. I also love that Eric freely shares his faith."

We are all very proud of how far you have come, Eric, and we know that you will continue to make your dreams come true. Thank you for sharing with us!


Thank you to Maid Brigade for partnering with us to transform the lives of our clients! LEARN MORE about the benefits for businesses partnering with us.

(Thank you to Mary Hanson for contributing to this story and for being a wonderful Job Coach.)

It is the mission of the TMI Supported Employment program to support, enhance and educate the general workforce population on the contributing value of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Through personalized integration, training and advocacy, TMI helps to develop the capabilities and strengths of all people desiring to work.


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) is a nonprofit organization that has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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