Hi, I’m Ben and I’m Autistic

Teenage boy in a bedroom listening to music

This story was shared with me by one of the women in my Supporter group. Grab a tissue.

Just a little story from yesterday.

I’m an Area Manager for a cleaning company and am always hiring. I had an interview yesterday with a young man named Ben. His Mom had called me before hand to tell me a little about him. He’s autistic and was nonverbal until age 12. He’s now 19 and she said she really didn’t want to waste my time but if I could just interview him because they are working on life skills and he needs practice. I said absolutely I’ll interview him!

Mom sat quietly at a table across the store and was beaming with pride.

We met at a Starbucks and it went as follows…..

Him: Hi, I’m Ben and I’m autistic.

Me: Hi, I’m Mary. (shook hands, he initiated)

Me: Do you have any experience cleaning?

Him: Yea, ma’am, I clean my room every day and even make my bed and I load all the plastic in the dishwasher and I put all the dishes in the sink and I take out the trash and wipe the trash can and I dust all the tables every day.

Me: Wow! That’s impressive! Do you do these things because you want to or because you have too.

Him: I do them because my Mom taught me how and she pays me on Friday.

Me: If I hire you do you think you could be on time and do your job, because being on time is very important to me.

Him: Oh, yes ma’am I will be on time every day.

Him: I can do anything that you teach me and show me and I can do it better than anyone else because I’m smart and I listen.

Me: (Gets out iPad and starts the hiring process and look over and Mom is crying happy silent tears and still beaming with pride.)

Me: Holding back tears, going through the hiring process…..

He starts Monday!!!!!

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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