UVU's autism conference 04

Booths at the 2018 Autism Conference at UVU are pictured on Friday, April 13, 2018, in Orem.

When Jake Fink attended the UVU Autism Conference in 2018, it was mostly out of curiosity. Jake has a brother with autism and thought that he could obtain more information. What he didn’t anticipate was that he would find a new direction in his career.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something in the field of autism,” Fink explained. “But the conference opened my eyes to looking at autism in a different way.”

It was then that Fink decided to combine the world of autism with his knowledge from working with an app company and create a website and mobile app focused on providing resources to individuals and their families living in the spectrum.

They started with a Facebook page, called LifeWith Autism, on which they have quickly grown from a few to more than 240 followers. The Facebook page itself offers members access to a variety of informational videos, speakers and surveys targeted toward all phases of an individual’s life.

The message that Fink is trying to send is: “Everyone on the spectrum has purpose in this life and can contribute in some way, they each have a different path.” He wants to help parents understand and find hope for the progress of their child and the many resources that are out there to guide and direct them toward that progress.

The second version of the website, http://Lifewithautism.org, is set to launch in about two weeks. The website will allow the user to select one of seven life stages, from finding a pediatrician, to diagnosis, early intervention, schools, college and vocational, employment, and housing. Selecting a button will lead the user to a variety of resources in their area. As a native of Washington State living in Utah, Fink has started with those two states but plans to build other states into the system over time.

Fink worked with a variety of sources to gather the different organizations to list of his site. Those sources are UVU, Medical Home Portal at University of Utah, 211 United Way, and Integrated Services through the Health Department.

Fink is one more example of the many people who have taken their love for a family member with a disability and turned it into their life’s work and found a way to use it to help many others. I encourage you to find their page on Facebook and join their group.

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