Autism – the word no parent wants to hear in connection with their child. Unfortunately, CDC estimates say 1 in 68 births will result in children with autism spectrum disorder. Further CDC statistics show that autism in American children increased an astonishing 119.4% from the year 2000 to 2010. It is the fastest growing developmental disability.
The autism advocacy group, autismspeaks.org, describes autism as follows:
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.
As with other devastating illnesses, there are many organizations that raise money for autism research, and services for autism cost Americans over $200 billion per year. According to Autism-society.org, 35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school.
The sad fact is that those diagnosed with autism often find themselves, purposely or not, branded by our society as people who aren’t capable of working and participating in society in general. This is not true and every case of autism spectrum disorder is not the same. The reality is that there is a wide range in the scope of severity in regards to this disability.
There’s no doubt that organizations, both private and governmental, serve a great purpose in the battle against autism spectrum disorder, but that doesn’t mean that individuals are powerless to help and have to just stay on the sidelines in this fight.
There is a man in Tampa, Florida who is stepping up and supporting people with autism by employing them and allowing them to be part of society. Frank Cuteri is the general manager of Mercedes-Benz of Tampa. This high-end car dealership features a café where customers can relax while waiting for their cars to be serviced or while purchasing a car.  The café is named Artistas Café, and every one of the front-line team members is a person diagnosed with autism.
And guess what? The Café runs smoothly and the employees work extremely well with each other, and, they take great pride in the job they do, and are extremely grateful to have it.
Check out the video and see for yourself.

Frank Cuteri and Mercedes-Benz of Tampa are great examples of what can be done when people think outside the box and not brand people with outdated and unfair stereotypes. These are truly Esteemable Acts!
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