Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Nathan Young

Autism Light #369 is Nathan Young.

Nathan Young is a 33 year old autism self-advocate from Fortuna, California, which is in western-central Humboldt County. In 2006 he founded the non-profit Autism Candles to raise autism awareness and to create opportunity for individuals with autism, and other developmental disabilities. What started as a local effort has expanded to a national outreach for autism. Nathan Young is an Autism Light because of his dedication to raise autism awareness and to provide employment opportunities for those with autism. His passion and energy to make a difference combined with his personal journey with autism helps him shine a light for autism. 

Autism Candles employs several people with autism who help make the actual candles. Workers hours change based on sales. It is the goal of Autism Candles to make homemade and personal candles rather than being a candle making factory. You can purchase candles through Amazon or on the Autism Candles Website

Nathan Young told Autism Light that, "The candle making project originated from the desire to show the world that people with autism, and other developmental disabilities, wanted to and could work. The goal was to get the attention of as many people in the area as possible."

These four goals are listed on the Autism Candles Website include:

  • Foster Autism Awareness
  • Promote Inclusion
  • Assist advocacy efforts on social media and traditional news sources
  • Assist advocacy efforts on social media and traditional news sources
  • Provide for the candle making needs of the autism community

Writer: Nathan Young wrote an article called Stuck in Transition that was featured on the Autism Speaks Webpage on May 7, 2012.

Advice to those with Autism:  Nathan Young encourages others with autism to guard their health. He writes, "Taking care of yourself is the first priority. Depending on the individual, accepting that help is needed to have a healthy life is important. Changing the world begins with being healthy."

Advice to Parents of Children with Autism: Nathan Young has the following advice to parents in relationship to how they can empower their children to make a difference in the world.
Take charge of change. The idealism and the expectations that people in society will treat persons with developmental disabilities fairly is not enough. Encouraging individuals to be self-advocates, that their dreams matter, and promoting inclusion where you live, with the help of self-advocates is important. Many people may mean well, it’s just that they aren’t aware of what issues are really there. It’s important to make as many allies as possible, and to turn things around to the positive as often as possible, even when people make obvious social mistakes. Opportunity for lasting change exists around every corner (Nathan Young).
Autism Awareness Strategy: Nathan Young shared his detailed autism awareness strategy with Autism Light.
I am hyper-focused on the strategies of societal change for inclusion, by using logically sound strategies, and trying to be more successful with the participation of national organizations and other self-advocates, families, disability professionals and allies within the general public. That is, to create a more feasible success pathway by using the communities within specific regions and nationally to spread awareness, which provokes measurable progress.

The national inclusion platform I wish to encourage organizations to work together for, is something I call <Area> Includes. Essentially it is a way for towns/cities within county regions to incite progress for inclusive opportunity. For agencies and nonprofits which serve individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism, to serve out their missions with the help of local and national awareness. Regions may compete with one another, measures can take place and, for instance, agencies which facilitate inclusive training, such as job coaching, can qualify local businesses for sponsoring job hours for participants. This further can be empowered through local chambers of commerce and other business organizations which can work with a regional <Area> Includes to spotlight groups who participate, and who eventually directly hire individuals who have been trained through sponsorships with area businesses. Nationally, further propagation of this model may further tailor its goals, and perception within popular culture. As a nation we must work together, on many levels, to better ensure inclusion and hope (Nathan Young).

Other Blogs: The following are additional perspectives on Autism Candles from other blogs.
Social Media: You can follow Nathan Young's work at Autism Candles at the following popular social media pages.
Goals: Nathan Young described to Autism Light his goals for self-advocacy in this way.
I want national autism and developmental disability organizations, and I want our legislators to listen. I think there is a great need to focus on inclusion, so that mainstream media cannot ignore it; I want the community to be a part of pop culture, and through that awareness to improve inclusion, that is, improve personal treatment and health care and to inspire hope. People just don’t realize how common poverty, for example, is in the developmental disability community, but if we put our minds together and fight for it in strategic ways, we will see real change (Nathan Young).
Nathan Young has taken the perspective that to accomplish great things it starts with believing in people. He says, "I believe success for inclusive change begins with a mentality that most people may mean well, and would help with these necessary changes if provided the opportunity in positive ways."

Special thanks to Nathan Young for raising autism awareness. In a sense the candles his company creates are symbolic of the light being brought to the autism community through awareness and opportunities. Nathan Young is a fine representative of many self-advocates in the autism community and we wish him all the best in his efforts to make a difference for autism now and in the future. As an autism father and blogger I hope to meet other adult self-advocates like Nathan Young in the future because they encourage me about the future my young son faces.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photos: The images in this post were used with permission of Nathan Young.

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