Asperger Works Finds Permanent Home in Lawrence

Daniel Rajczyk, center, and Tommy Woof, right, discussed the importance of Asperger Works on WHAV’s Open Mike Show last year.

Asperger Works, a non-profit helping to match adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders with job opportunities, has found a permanent home in Lawrence.

The organization, which traces its roots to Haverhill, will move into space donated by Northeast Independent Living Program (NILP), 20 Ballard Road, Lawrence, and begin accepting clients in September.

“We believe in Asperger Works’ clear and defined mission to educate employers and community members about the employment challenges facing adults living with Asperger’s Syndrome,” says, NILP Executive Director June Sauvageau. She cited high levels of unemployment and underemployment of individuals with “competitive” skills as a major reason for NILP stepping up to the plate. “We are united with our brothers and sisters of the Asperger’s Community. Freedom to earn and learn and live in our communities is a civil right for all.”

Asperger Works is the brainchild of Daniel R. Rajczyk, the organization’s executive director and president. Rajczyk knows all too well the problems faced by fellow “Aspies.” Although he has a master’s in Information Technology, he has not had much success in securing full-time employment. The mission of the organization is to help adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by providing employment-related services and training, including ongoing job coaching. It is important to note, board members said, that Asperger Works not only “talks the talk but walks the walk.” Besides Rajczyk, three of its six board members are adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.

“I’m so excited,” said Lisa Rajczyk, Asperger Works’ volunteer coordinator. “But now comes the hard part – finding just the right job coaches, whose job will include guiding our clients through the interview process and be available to act as their advocate if there is a problem in the workplace,” she said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children is diagnosed with Autism, and many of whom have Asperger’s Syndrome. While there have been great strides made in our school systems since Rajczyk’s childhood to address the difficulties faced by children with Asperger’s, there’s very little, if any, help available to them after graduation, officials said.

Asperger Works has been recognized by local and state leaders such as Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera and state Sen. Barbara L’Italien for its efforts on behalf of the Aspie community. The nonprofit was honored last year by the Lawrence City Council, sponsored by City Councilor Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez; won the prestigious EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All) Pitch Contest earlier this year; and received 2016 a Community Development Block Grant award from Lawrence.

At the end of October, Asperger Works will have its annual fundraising dinner. The theme, “Thinking Outside the Box,” urges employers to take a second look at adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning Autism and provide them with full-time, challenging, and rewarding career opportunities.

For more on the dinner, see