We are a nation of explorers and inventors. We are driven to dive leagues into the oceans and fly deep into space; we’ve unraveled the mystery of our own DNA; we discover, invent and create. This independence of spirit, this drive to understand, create and succeed is common to us all, and is nowhere more evident than among our own students. Those on the spectrum are increasingly drawn to innovate, to explore, and to strike out on their own. We live at a time when to start your own business or enterprise is no longer unusual—it is almost a commonplace. The models for this in our own time are the first Apple Computers which were produced in a garage, the idea of Google which began with exploring the results of search engines, and the start-up of Facebook in a college dorm. Each of these began with an idea, with a sense of how to do something differently or better, and with the determination to fill a perceived public need.
The independence of spirit that accompanies being an entrepreneur brings benefits to those on the spectrum: they can work when they want to rather than when they have to; they are able to make their own decisions; and they are able to proceed at their own pace, rather than at the pace determined by an employer. The increasing range of businesses that they have started includes a bakery, a courier service, manufacturing healthcare products, and many more. At Village Glen, we support this drive towards independence by offering courses in Entrepreneurship starting in Elementary School. We engage and support our students in brainstorming ideas, in being able to evaluate them for feasibility, in developing a prototype, in formulating a business plan, and in marketing their idea. Our students have already shown their ability to compete in almost any arena. At Village Glen, we want them not only to start up, we want them to take off!