Finding a person’s interests and preferences is crucial to providing appropriate transition services. The young man in this article has been able to find his niche using his strengths and interests. The author alludes to the inefficiency of Canadian schools in serving youth with disabilities as they transition into adulthood and this man’s parents forged ahead until they helped their son find a suitable program and business for him.
The next time you are cursing the assembly instructions for an IKEA desk or bookshelf, you will wish you were living in Edmonton.
Residents in the Alberta capital can hire Brad Fremmerlid, a 24-year-old man with severe autism who can build anything.
Although he doesn’t read or speak, Fremmerlid has an amazing ability to understand the most complex diagrams, blueprints and pictorial instructions.
And for a small fee — currently about $20 — he will build any piece of furniture in your home.
“Everyone tells us we should be charging more, but we’re not really looking for money,” said his father, Mark Fremmerlid, an air ambulance pilot, who launched the business for his son this month. “We just want him to have something meaningful to do.
“It’s just started, but it seems to be so good for him to go to someone’s place and have a problem to solve,” he said in a telephone interview this week.
So far, the business — Made by Brad — has had eight clients, who have asked the young man to assemble everything from a shower caddy to a filing cabinet.
Mark books appointments through the company’s website. Brad communicates through rudimentary hand signs. But a support worker, who drives him to the jobs, assists with any questions a client may have.