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Students With Autism Learn How To Succeed At Work - featured June 15, 2010

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[Source: National Public Radio]

People with autism often have a hard time finding and keeping jobs, so more schools are creating programs to help students with autism get prepared for the workplace. One of those programs helped change the life of Kevin Sargeant.

Just a few years ago, when Kevin was still in elementary school, things weren't looking good for him. He was antisocial, desperately unhappy and doing poorly in school.

"He was pretty much a broken child, the way I would describe it," says his mother, Jennifer Sargeant. "We really didn't see that he would be able to go to college, even have a job. That just wasn't in our future for him."

Kevin, now 18, says his autism left him unable to handle the social interactions at school.

"I'd always have my head in my jacket and my hood up, and I wouldn't want to talk to anybody just because I didn't know what they were going to do," he says. "I'd always play with my Legos and, you know, I was rude all the time, and I had fits of anger and stuff like that — just because I didn't understand people."

The school had classified Kevin as ADHD. But his mother took him for more extensive testing and found out he had autism. That meant Kevin was eligible for special services. His mother fought hard to get him into a school program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

Read or Listen to this Story on NPR.org


Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter June 25 2010