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A young man with Autism gets a dream job and assists others to do the same!

Emiliano is a young man with Autism who refuses to let that define him. After just a couple of months in E&CO’s Supported Employment Program (SE), Emiliano Miller has achieved two of his life’s goals. He has secured a meaningful job following his passion to be a certified dog bather and is working to change perceptions of people just like him with Autism.

Emiliano came to discover E&CO’s SE program by referral from the San Diego Regional Center, California’s main resource for people with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, and other similar disabling conditions.

With the support of the Regional Center, Emiliano went to school at the Art of Fur Academy in 2016 and graduated with a certificate in dog bathing that establishes him as certified to bathe and brush dogs in a professional capacity. With a desire to pursue a meaningful career in dog bathing, Emiliano looked into programs throughout San Diego that could assist him in securing employment. After identifying E&CO’s SE program as the right fit, Emiliano began working diligently to identify his desired locations of employment. Emiliano attended E&CO’s Job Club with support staff, Myles Horttor, Amy Ostrowski and Jennifer Ristau. With Emiliano’s preparedness and determination, the team put together a plan to begin searching for a job placement right away.

Emiliano interviewed at Pooch Dog Hotel in Mission Valley with Manager, Lena Botwright, and was offered a position almost immediately for 5-hour shifts, two days a week.

Emiliano has now been working at Pooch Dog Hotel for 6 weeks and under the careful guidance of his trainer Ty Green, he is learning the ins and outs of Pooch. Among many things Ty has taught Emiliano is the importance of attention to detail and patience, especially when trimming the dogs’ nails as it can easily hurt the dogs.

Emiliano is a calm, cool and collected character at work. He has a love for dogs and all things selfless. He and his Dad own their own rescue dog, Chico, a Chihuahua mix. It just so happens his favorite dogs to bathe happen to be Chihuahuas! And of course, Golden Retrievers because they remind him of the movies Homeward Bound and Air Bud.

Emiliano operates and stars in his own YouTube channel, Ghost Rider Autism, dedicated to helping other people with Autism to live as independently as possible. He recently uploaded videos on problem-solving, making dinner, self-help and weekly emails. Emiliano named the channel after a Marvel Comic hero and movie, Ghost Rider because he feels a kinship with the character’s redemptive and altruistic nature.

In Emiliano’s spare time, he takes archery lessons with his Dad and loves feeling a connection to two other timeless movie heroes, Robin Hood and Katniss Everdeen. He also has an impressive ability to remember and recite not only movie quotes but entire scenes and their dialogue.

E&CO is proud to support adults like Emiliano on their journey to find meaningful independence as they define it. Our mission as an organization is fulfilled when stories like Emiliano’s become a reality. We are honored to share this story with you — our supporters — because the impact YOU make on adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities is unparalleled – and we thank you!

Article by Alaina Purcell, Marketing & Development Speciliast.