Blog

Investing in the Community

Wilderwood is very fortunate to have been selected as one of the 2021 Facebook Community Action Grant recipients! The Facebook Los Lunas Data Center is geographically close to us and is, like Wilderwood, demonstrating its commitment to the community — investing in the people who live and work here. Recognizing the important of community involvement is a priority of Wilderwood, and we are so grateful to have our program recognized and supported by a member of our local community.

The Facebook Community Action Grant that Wilderwood received will sponsor a number of courses for our program participants to take that will help them on their journey to greater life and work satisfaction and accomplishment. We are very grateful for the support of Facebook in this venture!

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, today we received this delightful and thoughtful package in the mail!

A thoughtful and commemorative memento from Facebook!

Gardens, Tractors, and Phenomenology

It may be an odd combination, and possibly where else but Wilderwood would it work? In our third week of the semester, participants are learning about aspects of phenomenology along with working (and learning about) a tractor and their own raised garden.

Desmond has been particularly interested in the goings-on in the Raised Gardens and can be seen below offering “assistance” (just as he did during the Pilot when he and Viv got into the gardens and sampled the carrots that were growing there).

Wilderwood’s First Week

Our first week is done! Here are some pictures taken during Prep time.

Beautiful Ode, looking angelic!
The Three Bays … waiting for lunch.
Viv’s new friend (and our photographer for the day!)
The chickens demonstrating the hard work they do at Wilderwood.
Manure management and dueling poop scooping!
Project of the Day, and taking time to talk with Rae.

At Long Last

Today, we picked eight of the first spring daffodils for the six participants and two Teaching Assistants who will be starting Wilderwood’s program tomorrow.

Nearly four years in the making, it seems fitting that these lovely flowers are in bloom just in time for our program’s official opening.

The amazing support for Wilderwood continues, also. This month, we received a grant for the Arena Sand Project, as well as two very generous donations to support our program. Though COVID has not permitted us the grand opening we may have otherwise wanted, we are excited to be getting underway at last.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and supported and cheered us on so far. We are so grateful to every one of you!

Unicorns Are Real …

… and so can be your support of autistic people in New Mexico!

Please support autistic people in New Mexico by joining us in signing the linked petition below. Each signature helps raise awareness of the need for autistic people to be authentically and meaningfully involved in programs, community projects, political decision making, education, and other activities that impact them.

Too often, autistic people are overlooked and left out of the development of autistic programs. Please speak up and sign — then share — the petition! Join the autistic community in strengthening our collective voice.

http://chng.it/79D5pcz5hk

Ode, our Unicorn.

Interview Day

Really enjoyed Interview Day for Wilderwood’s 2021 intake today. Although we couldn’t meet our upcoming participants in person, we were able to talk via Zoom. Clearly, from these screenshots, it was a very happy day! — even Connie got in on the act!

We are so excited to be welcoming our participants and are eager to get started!

Wilderwood is for …

One question that we are sometimes asked is “who is Wilderwood for?” Perhaps the best answer to this question comes from the participants who have been part of Wilderwood’s program. And so, here are some of their responses to this question

Q: Who do you think Wilderwood’s program is best suited for?

  • Autistic adults
  • Someone who struggles with communication at work
  • Someone looking to make a change
  • Self-discovery
  • Motivated to want to change and take a new route
  • Looking to find a bridge between “A” and “B” (or autistic and neurotypical worlds) but don’t know or are unsure how to achieve that
  • Not necessarily someone who wants a work/career change or direction, but who wants to change aspects of his or her life

So there you have it. If you, or someone you know, has been contemplating any of the above — and you (or someone you know) is autistic, Wilderwood might be the place to go.

Textbooks!

It is exciting to see the product of hard work and lots of early mornings/late nights in real, tangible form. Below are the covers of the textbooks that have just been completed for Semesters 1 and 2 of Wilderwood’s curriculum. Semester 3 (the final textbook in the series) is still in the “hard work, early mornings, late nights” phase).

When we set out nearly four years ago to develop Wilderwood’s curriculum, it was because we recognized that existing programs — as good as many of them are for their contexts and goals — did not reflect what we wanted to see in our curriculum; did not reflect the outcomes we knew were important for the participants in our program.

And, most importantly, we wanted authentic autistic voices driving the content and goals of the curriculum.

Months (years) and hundreds of work hours later, we can see and tangibly touch the essence of the program in our hands. It’s an amazing moment. The next stage is to see that same essence come to life in the hands of our participants.