The Carwash Business With 80+ Autistic Employees


In today’s world, Autism and its social effects are hardly unknown. The number of children who fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorder along with Asperger’s, Dyslexia and Tourette Syndrome has seen a rise over the years. However, the good news is that with each day, more and more organisations are actively trying to integrate people with autism into the mainstream society (Refer to our news on Hiring Autistic adults in Bakery a smash-hit and Autism friendly businesses in Iowa.

Still, there is so much more that needs to be done, especially in the area of employment. A person with autism finds it exceedingly difficult to secure a job and more so to remain employed on a continual basis. Thus, many people with autism find it challenging to feel useful in the society they live in.

Under such conditions, the story of Andrew D’Eri comes has ray of hope for many people with or without  ASD.

Andrew was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old (an age when most children with autism are usually diagnosed). Even though there are an increasing number of facilities and support for children while they grow up, such help is increasingly harder to find when they reach an age fit for employment.

It takes an immense amount of patience and hard work to bring up a child with autism. At the end of it, if there is no continued employment or social acceptance then all that hard work seems futile.

It is at this stage, keeping in mind the love Andrew’s mother put in to bring him up, John and Tom D’Eri, Andrew’s father and brother, came up with a brilliant plan that not only motivated Andrew but helped many others like him.

John and Tom D’Eri of the Rising Tide Car Wash has set an outstanding example for a lot of other small business owners – 80% of the employees working in this Florida based carwash falls under the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The D-Eri Family - Pioneers of the idea
The D’Eri Family – Leading the Cause for Autism Employment


Andrew D-Eri washes a car at Rising Tide Car Wash
Andrew D’Eri at work in Rising Tide Car Wash

In their own words, Rising Tide Car wash “will have strong enough profitability to support…people with autism through living wages, career advancement opportunities, independent living skills and self-advocacy training.”

This, needless to mention, is an extremely necessary step in the process of integrating people with Autism to the society. Among the 43 people employed in the car wash, 35 falls under the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Employing people with Autism has been a ‘key advantage’ according to Tom D’Eri, given their faultless work, enthusiasm to be a part of society and capabilities to ‘adhere to processes’. In a heartfelt message, John D’eri says what most parents with autistic children worry about – that he does not want his son to be taken care of by others. Rather, he would want him to be around people who are like him, have friends and a job.

This carwash, therefore, becomes an answer for many people with autism, who perform better than most in structured work process, having a great eye for little details involved.

Rising Tide Carwash Crew Members
Rising Tide Carwash Crew Members – 35 out of a Total 43 employed are Autistic

National Swell, where this video first appeared, suggests that there is almost 90% unemployment among people with autism, making their adult lives difficult and purposeless. The Rising Tide Car Wash adds a sense of purpose to not only the employees but to their families as well.

This venture proves how employees with autism can be more productive than most individuals and hiring them for small businesses that need structured, well-arranged skillset is profitable to the employers, employees as well as the customers.

John and Tom D’eri also runs CanDo Business Ventures, an organisation that that aims to transform individuals with autism into successful members of the society by including them into the workforce. They aim to revolutionise the way society sees autism while helping individuals with ASD to reach their maximum potential.

For the right tools to get an Autistic individual employed, refer to our Autism Employment Toolkit

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