"We must be diligent at breaking down the barriers to hiring people with special needs, which includes dispelling misconceptions and stereotypes," Neider said. "Young people like RJ deserve the same opportunity to show their abilities and skills as everyone else."
The conversation was moderated by "NBC Bay Area News" journalist Diane Dwyer who asked Peete about her recently released book, "Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express", which was written in collaboration with her 18-year-old twin children RJ and Ryan Elizabeth Peete.
"We knew it was important to give a young man with autism a voice," Peete said. "Many people on the spectrum are non-verbal and have trouble communicating. Having a voice is really important."
Following the event, Peete signed copies of "Same But Different" for attendees. "The book is very touching and really highlights the challenges and triumphs the entire family goes through when raising a child with autism," said Neider. "It was truly an inspiring conversation for everyone who attended."
For more than 95 years, Gatepath has been "Turning Disabilities Into Possibilities." As one of the premier nonprofits in Silicon Valley, we provide inclusive programs for people with special needs at all stages and ages. These programs enable Gatepath to create opportunities of greater independence for children, youth, and adults with special needs and disabilities, empowering both individuals and families through diverse, individualized education and support services. Our dedicated staff encourage physical, developmental, and social well-being at all levels, including early intervention and therapy for children, inclusive preschools, support services for families, social communication programs for youth, vocational training for adults, and employment placement.