Sunday, December 21, 2008

Good Story On Success With Autism Spectrum Disorder

CUMBERLAND — Because of his autism, 22-year-old Andrew Pegg of Frostburg has not spoken a single word since he was 2 years old. Yet, he owns Andilla Designs & Graphics, a home-based business that personalizes gifts and advertising products.

The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services and the Maryland Rehabilitation Association recently presented Pegg with its annual Personal Achievement Award at a statewide conference in Ocean City. Andilla Designs & Graphics is evidence that individuals with severe disabilities can build a future with the right mix of community programs and family support.

The award honors a former consumer of the Division of Rehabilitation Services who has overcome barriers to reach personal and economic independence.

Pegg has received assistance from his DORS counselor, Erin Shahan, and his family. Since certain aspects of his business are difficult due to his disability—marketing and driving, for example—he is assisted by Derrick Swandol, a job coach from Spectrum, a local non-profit agency.

A part of the Maryland State Department of Education, DORS, with initial consultation from its Reach Independence through Self-Employment Program, assisted Pegg with his start-up costs and purchase of the equipment he utilizes to make his creations. He continues to acquire new business from individuals as well as organizations.

Pegg communicates well in writing and brings a prepared slide presentation to numerous events, informing and teaching others what individuals with disabilities can accomplish.