The Bridge Fund
Let's Make Pittsburgh Autism's Most Livable City
Pittsburgh is a city that knows how to work around obstacles- breathtaking hills, impossible intersections and the maze-like streets of 90 distinct neighborhoods don't phase us. Instead, we invent the "Pittsburgh Left," we execute perfectly timed ballet moves while negotiating 7 -way intersections. We put bridges under bridges. We can drive manual transmissions up Rialto St. (when it's open) and we know to "Turn Around, Don't Drown."
Whether we realize it or not, to navigate the city most days, we are using the same sort of work-arounds in street traffic that neurodiverse people use to navigate daily life. We're used to circuitous routes. Maybe you've seen this graphic:
Viewed side by side with the roadways of other cities, it's clear that Pittsburgh's road don't follow a grid pattern, but rather snake out in every direction. As newcomers to the city are often told "You can get there, but you can't get there from here!" The same thing can be said of a Neurodiverse brain versus a Neurotypical brain:
Like Pittsburgh, navigating with a neurodiverse brain often means that you need a bridge to get where you're going.
We’ve been working to build those bridges with our young clients since 2014.
Our region’s workforce needs an infusion of young, talented workers and we have a reserve of them who simply require a few metaphorical bridges to be built.
Our young neurodiverse adults need support and social capital to access quality employment. They have the skills, they just need an alternative route to get there. Employment coaching, on the job support, and social acceptance yield incredible results.
Over the years, 90% of our job seekers have achieved permanent positions and 92% of our college coaching clients have graduated from their programs.
We currently serve around 200 young adults a year.
We could serve so many more with your support.
You Can't Get There From Here- But You Can still Get There!
A message of support from the Evolve Community
Services for young people on the autism spectrum often seem least available when they are most needed, leaving struggling families to navigate on their own. During high school, students may have received therapeutic services (speech-language therapy, occupational or life skills therapy, physical therapy, vocational services); health-related services like diagnostic medical services; personal counseling (psychological or mental health, or social work); access/mobility services (transportation, assistive technology services/devices); personal assistance (in-home or classroom aide, or respite care); or case management – often to help families find supports. When families are unable to access any of these types of help after high school, this likely contributes to the failure of too many youth with autism to launch successfully into adulthood.
Furthermore, so many young people - women, minorities, the impoverished, and immigrants lack access to the diagnostic services that would allow them to access the supports that they need.
With your help we can expand access to diagnosis, education and employment opportunity for so many Pittsburghers!
Let's build another bridge.
Let's make Pittsburgh Autism's Most livable City!