New autism support group in Oldham County aimed at helping young - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New autism support group in Oldham County aimed at helping young professionals

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OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Glen Jennings says a new kind of support group is needed in the autism community.

"Autism mainly affects people's social interactions," he said. "I wouldn't call it a disability, but I would say it's sort of like having a different dialect."

The 23-year-old wants to talk about autism. He's on the spectrum and learning to navigate a new job and life in the "real world." 

"When you're in high school, you have a lot of people helping you communicate with people in daily life," he said.

But after graduation, Jennings said, that support and structure disappears.

"I wanted to help other people with autism succeed and grow and understand their potential, but there just weren't any opportunities around here," he said. "I said OK, I'm gonna do it myself." 

Jennings is starting his own support group in Oldham County. The Kentucky Autism Training Center is working to help young adults in the workplace.

"Is work equipped for individuals with autism, and are individuals with autism equipped with the skills they need for work?" asked Larry Taylor, Executive Director of the group.

Researchers have developed programs to help employers support their autistic workers and point out the unique skills they bring.

"Many of those characteristics are strengths, and they bring those strengths to the workplace," Taylor said.

That's something Jennings knows firsthand.

"It's very, very possible to succeed, and I want people to realize that," he said. "I want people with autism to realize that they are no less than anyone else."

Jennings' group is called "Magnetic North." Its first meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the South Oldham Fire Department.

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