The founder and senior vice president of the Helping Adults with Autism Foundation to be Productive and Excellent in the United States (Haape), María Jacobo, promotes the creation of educational and professional vocation programs to insert into the labor market youth and adults with autism in the Dominican Republic.
Jacobo, a native of La Vega, spoke about the need to help achieve economic and personal independence in the community with neurodiversity, in her speech during an act commemorating the Autism Awareness Day, organized by the Ministry of Education.
“I was a mother who decided to leave her dreams and leave my country (in the Dominican Republic) to find a better life for my son. My dream when studying International Politics was to serve the Dominican community. Today my dream is to help each family see their children develop their full potential, whatever their diagnosis may be,” said Jacobo.
The Dominican presenter of Univisión Radio and writer, also highlighted the progress achieved through the HAAPE Foundation. Since 2016, this non-profit organization in several cities of USA, has positively impacted youth with autism through post-secondary educational programs that allow them to find employment and be an active part of the community.
“We change the lives of autistic adults by creating, promoting and supporting educational, training and employment programs that promote economic and personal independence. We address the challenges of a unemployment rate/ 80-90% underemployment for autistic people, and programs that should be developed in Quisqueya in this way,” he said.
Haape implemented pioneering, one-of-a-kind programs that are in high demand for employment and match the skills of autistic adults, such as avionics (1st in the world for autistic), supply chain, FAA certified drone pilot , cloud document management, software and technology testing.
reported that the NGO it also provides and facilitates educational tools for communities, businesses and houses of worship to become Haape Endorsed Inclusive Cities. Among them are the City of Weston, Parkland, Cooper City and Sunrise, in Florida.
“There are opportunities for autistic people, that parents do not faint because there is a beautiful future for their children. But you have to work hard to ensure that the necessary policies and spaces are created that our autistic people need to advance in life. Let’s create the best Dominican Republic now!” she urged.
The foundation is recognized by the Stanford University in California, Georgia Tech and Broward College, Nova Southeastern University, as well as other major institutions.
One in every 36 births in the world results in a diagnosis of Autism, according to the most recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which calculated that the extra cost per family to sustain and support the development of an autistic child is more than US$60,000.