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Family Turns Entire Second Story Into Mock Restaurant to Help Son With Autism


One dad took extraordinary measures to help his son with autism prepare for a successful career.

Michael Stuart retired early from his teaching job in Florida to dedicate himself to helping his 24-year-old son Aaron develop skills that could help him find work in the food service or hospitality industries. And after job placement programs proved unsuccessful, Stuart and his wife converted the entire second story of their house into a mock restaurant to help Aaron train.

Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher from Florida, met up with Stuart to make a video about his mission, and the new organization he’s created out of it, called Operation Meaningful Life. Ulmer posted the video on his Facebook page Special Books By Special Kids, where he often features videos about his own classroom as well as local families of people with special needs.

See the video below:

Operation Meaningful LifeAaron is an adult diagnosed with autism. He is what many refer to as severely autistic.Aaron was struggling to find meaning in life. This resulted in a lingering frustration and episodes of crying. Aaron’s Dad, unable to watch his son struggle, retired early from a teaching job to help him find a purpose.This is their story.

Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Sunday, February 21, 2016

 

Operation Meaningful Life challenges the perception that people designated “lower functioning” or labeled with “severe” autism are unable to be productive members of society. Stuart has designed an entirely skills-based training program to help bring out the true potential of an individual, according to the Operation Meaningful Life Facebook group.

Ulmer, 26, is the celebrated teacher whose video of the awesome way he starts class each day went viral in November last year. He teaches at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

After hearing about Stuart’s work, Ulmer realized the family lives only 20 minutes away from him. He went over and spent a few hours observing and filming. He says he often gets emails from people in the special needs community who want to share stories with him, and he plans on turning his Special Books By Special Kids Facebook page into a platform to share these kinds of stories. He will be doing a road trip this spring to travel the U.S. and collect stories from all over to share on the Facebook page.

Check out the Facebook page Special Books by Special Kids, which is updated daily.