MERISTEM is a day and residential program in Sacramento that helps young adults with Autism and other developmental difficulties transition into independent living and employment. The program has 50 students from the ages of 18 to 28.
After California Assembly Bill 2840 was signed by the governor, funding an Autism employment pilot program, 12 MERISTEM students were invited to become part of a leadership lab. The group was eventually named Transformational Advocacy Project (TAP), and members interview employers and individuals with ASD to gather data for their manual and trainings.
TAP also partnered with the California Workforce Development Board, the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency and the California Workforce Association to help with the process and meets weekly with peer collaborators from Los Angeles County.
TAP established two pilot programs in Sacramento and Los Angeles to test ideas for the employer manual and training sessions. Eventually, the manual will consist of visual supports, presentation materials, webinar series and video series.
In contrast to other manuals, TAP’s will be written from the voice of an autistic individual.