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June 29, 2013

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1 previous review
November 26, 2012

My high-functioning Asperger's daughter always struggled to find a place where she felt comfortable and could fit in. It is not an overstatement to say that nonPareil Institute has completely changed ... more

June 29, 2013

nonPareil Institute has completely changed my daughter's life. Her jr. high and high school experiences were filled with nothing but social failure and she struggled with the executive functioning necessary to complete and turn in assignments. She is now a happy and thriving young adult because of the environment that nonPareil provides. She has friends for the first time, a purpose in life, and success like she has never been able to experience before. I don't have enough positive adjectives in my vocabulary to adequately describe nonPareil Institute.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 26, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

My high-functioning Asperger's daughter always struggled to find a place where she felt comfortable and could fit in. It is not an overstatement to say that nonPareil Institute has completely changed her life for the better. She has friends and a purpose for the first time in her life. I cannot imagine how empty her life would be if she were not able to attend nonPareil. Dan Selec and Gary Moore have an incredible vision for persons on the autism spectrum, and I am grateful beyond words that my daughter has the opportunity to participate in the program.There are not enough superlatives in my vocabulary to explain what nonPareil Institute means to our whole family.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 28, 2013

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1 previous review
October 25, 2012

"Thank you for changing my life." Those are the words of my son to the founders of nonPareil Institute. nonPareil truly changes lives. Up to 90% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed, ... more

June 28, 2013

nonPareil Institute is changing lives every day. It is much more than just a technology company. The adults with autism at nonPareil learn to work together. They learn to be supportive of one another. They learn a sense of community. And they carry that enhanced understanding with them into the world beyond nonPareil. It changes their relationships with their families, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers.

My son said about nonPareil, "Thank you for changing my life." That is exactly what it has done. I've heard many other families say the same. I can't wait until we have the level of game sales and donations support to take this program national. I am so proud to be a part of it.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

With more donations, we can expand to other cities. That will create opportunities for more adults with autism and also increase brand awareness to sell the apps, e-books, and video games produced by these awesome adults!

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 25, 2012

"Thank you for changing my life." Those are the words of my son to the founders of nonPareil Institute. nonPareil truly changes lives. Up to 90% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed, with no hope for a fulfilling life. nonPareil works with these adults in their sweet spot, technology. They become valued members of teams where they can contribute to software projects as well as help one another. A great organization that is making a true difference in this world. I'm passionate enough to be a full-time volunteer. I believe in this cause.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 27, 2013

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June 27, 2013

I learned about nonPariel while serving on the board of The Achievement Center of Texas, another excellent non-profit caring for mobility and other types of disabled individuals. My high functioning autistic 18 year old grandson Jonathan was interviewed by Gary Moore for the nP program; my husband and I were incredibly impressed by every aspect of their approach to the students, what they had to offer, and their life changing organization. We wanted Jonathan to attend; Jonathan was over the moon in love with the program and was eager to start immediately. Regrettably his parents live in Florida and did not want him living away from home so he has been unable to attend. We still think nP is the best place for Jonathan and keep trying to convince his parents to allow him to attend. Darlene S. Taylor-Thompson, M.D.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Clone Gary Moore and the nP organization to have them everywhere they are needed

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

June 27, 2013

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1 previous review
November 27, 2012

nonPareil offers life opportunity for growth, learning, friendship, and careers for people on the autism spectrum. It has made an incredible difference in my son's life. I have already recommended it... more

June 27, 2013

My son didn't know what his future would be. He didn't have friends, didn't have places to go or things to do. That all changed when he started at nonPareil. At first he was a bit leery as it was all new -new place, doing new things, new people. Well, it didn't take long for him to feel accepted, comfortable and to love it. I could barely get the car in park before he was rushing to get in the door and get started. He was learning, he was making friends, he had a life. That might not sound like much to most parents of young adults but to parents of spectrum adults, it is huge. He is happy and confident. He enjoys what he doing. He has friends and makes plans to get together. For him, that is a monumental achievement. He is working on projects at his speed and he can share what he does with his peers. nonPareil has been a tremendous blessing to us!

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 27, 2012

nonPareil offers life opportunity for growth, learning, friendship, and careers for people on the autism spectrum. It has made an incredible difference in my son's life. I have already recommended it to numerous families.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 27, 2013

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June 27, 2013

nonPareil is a ground breaking and LIFE CHANGING organization that is working with adults with Asperger’s in order to help them build technologies to support them in the future. WhiIe working for them as the AD, I see on a daily basis the impact and overwhelming change a little affirmation and love can do for those that have been discarded by the traditional system of education and work that neurotypical adults face with general ease. We are cutting edge with our technology, which few other nonprofits can match. Our crew members are making the apps, and on every level they are responding to our challenges and are growing and maturing from them. This is how to change the world. We are doing it one crew member at a time.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

June 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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1 previous review
November 26, 2012

My son is a high functioning autistic young man in his 20's. After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science last spring, he had overwhelming anxiety related to actually putting into prac... more

June 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

My high functioning autistic son attends nonpareil. He has a BS in computer science but was paralyzed with the idea of finding a job. In the year that he has been at nonpareil my son has had a boost of self confidence that has made an enormous difference in his life. Chris is living his dream of programming games and couldn't be happier. He fits in regardless of the fact that he is not very social. The acceptance and love expressed by the staff and crew is amazing!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it available to more people on the spectrum

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 26, 2012

My son is a high functioning autistic young man in his 20's. After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science last spring, he had overwhelming anxiety related to actually putting into practice what he had learned. The thought of applying for a job was incapacitating. After we heard about nonPareil, I scheduled an appointment with Gary to see what it was all about. What an amazing place! Gary and the crew made my son and I feel welcomed. It is a safe environment with great opportunities for anyone on the autistic spectrum. My son has gained confidence and has decreased anxiety overall. He now lives on his own in the Plano area and takes a bus to travel to nonPareil. The staff is outstanding! They have been incredibly helpful with any problems he has encountered and have been kind, nonjudgemental, and patient as well as being excellent communicators. The crew at nonPareil are free to be themselves to learn and produce products in a field that is a favorite pastime for most of them. It is an opportunity that I never thought would be available to my son.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

more


1 previous review
November 24, 2012

My son, Daniel, is nearly 21 years old. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Daniel is smart, but his talents can't be realized in real-world work situations. NonPareil provides an opport... more

June 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

My son attends nonPareil Institute. He has high functioning autism. nPI gives Daniel the opportunity to train in gaming app development. He would not be qualified to train elsewhere. nPI is flexible with Daniel's need for accommodations. He receives one-on-one attention from the exellent staff. Improvements need to be more staff, more space, more hardware, more donations.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More donations in order to expand their exellent services!

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 24, 2012

My son, Daniel, is nearly 21 years old. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Daniel is smart, but his talents can't be realized in real-world work situations. NonPareil provides an opportunity for Daniel to be productive part of society and to learn new skills. Daniel is on the waiting list at nonPareil and he and his parents are very excited about this opportunity. NonPareil needs your support to reach more people on the autism spectrum. Please donate your time or money to increase the impact of nonPareil on the growing number of adults on the autism spectrum!

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 26, 2013

more

June 26, 2013

Our daughter has been attending nonPareil for a year now and we could not be happier. Of course before we found nonPareil we were uncertain what the future held for her. We were confident she would find employment but knew that probably meant a lifetime of menial labor jobs and that was very upsetting to us. We really wanted her to be able to find work doing something she enjoyed. Thanks to nonPareil Institute she is on her way to doing just that.

The incredible bonus we've received with her attending nonPareil has been her social growth. She has absolutely blossomed in a year. Her fears of crowds and noisy rooms has decreased significantly and we can point to the environment of respect, love and attention that nonPareil Institute fosters as a prime factor in her change.

We look forward to her future with as much excitement as we do our other daughter who is a senior in college. Who knows she may develop the next Angry Birds and buy Mom & Dad their retirement island!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to raise a billion dollars so they could concentrate on the business side and not the fund raising side of their organization.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

June 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

more

June 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

My son, Ethan, and my wife’s son, Trey, are on the autism spectrum. We just found out eight months ago that our son, three-year old Luke, also has autism. One out of every 50 children today has some form of autism.

Because of Ethan and Trey’s autism affliction, four years ago I co-founded
nonPareil Institute -- for training young adults with autism to work in the technology industry, specifically in developing gaming applications and gaming software -- at that time on a "campus" that consisted of one of the co-founder's breakfast nooks in his home serving three students.

Since then, we have grown to 125 students and have opened offices and classroom space on Southern Methodist University's Plano Campus. The students have developed numerous apps for the iPhone and similar devices, and have also developed several computer games – from start to finish.

We literally have received emails from all over the world asking about the work we're doing and if we can help children all over the country and around the globe.

nonPareil has just signed an agreement with Sony to produce games for their Playstation game console (so exciting) and we're about to release "Lightwire" -- a visually stunning gaming app for the iPhone and iPad. We also just released a fun gaming app called "Dots & Boxes."

We were also featured recently on NBC Nightly News: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52162262/#52162262

For more on nonPareil:

http://www.npitx.org
KERA Radio in Dallas, part of the NPR digital networks, profiled nonPareil Institute on air and on its Website in the story "Young Adults With Autism Find Work In Tech":

http://keranews.org/post/young-adults-autism-find-work-tech

A job training and autism briefing at Dallas City Hall early last month featured my fellow co-founders at nonPareil Institute:

http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2013/02/job-training-and-autism-briefing-at-dallas-city-hall.html/?goback=%2Egde_3268263_member_214205878

nonPareil was highlighted in the November 30th print and online issue of the Dallas Business Journal:
nonPareil's tech training gives solid future to adults with autism Premium content from Dallas Business Journal by Bill Hethcock, Staff Writer
Date: Friday, November 30, 2012, 5:00am CST - Last Modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012, 3:24pm CST Aaron Winston and Cheryl O’Brien spend much of their day in a darkened room, staring at a computer screen, developing gaming apps for iPhones, iPads, Androids and other smartphone and tablet devices.

In one of Winston’s apps, called Spaceape, a Cosmonaut ape named Dmitri flies around outer space, scooping up bananas and dodging asteroids, comets and aliens. One of O’Brien’s apps, called npiSoroban, is an abacus for the iPad and other devices. The apps are available for 99 cents at app stores.

Winston and O’Brien are former students and current staff programmers at nonPareil Institute, a nonprofit technology company housed on Southern Methodist University’s campus in Plano. Like all of nonPareil’s students and more than half of its 23 staffers, Winston and O’Brien have autism.

The three-year-old institute provides technical training for adults on the autism spectrum, teaching teamwork and skills that enable students and staff to create products, like Spaceape and npiSoroban, for market release.

The institute is growing fast, said Gary Moore, president and co-founder. It had eight students when it opened on the SMU-Plano campus two years ago. Today, it has 93 students and a waiting list of more than 50.

The institute is looking to add a campus in Fort Worth in the next year and ultimately expand nationwide and around the world, Moore said. Word of the institute and its work has spread fast in the autism community, he said.

“There is a tidal wave coming,” Moore said. “From all over the world, we are getting phone calls. There’s nothing else for these adults.”

‘People understand how I’m made up’
Soaring autism rates are driving much of the growth of nonPareil (which means “no equal”), Moore said. The condition is now believed to affect one in 88 children — up from one in 150 just 10 years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the next 10 years, more than 500,000 people with autism will turn 18, according to the nonprofit Autism Speaks.

Because people with autism may think and act differently, many don’t fit into a typical corporate workplace, so they end up unemployed or in part-time, minimum-wage jobs, Moore said.

“Many of the high-functioning guys are brilliant, but they can’t get a job because they’re different,” Moore said. “We’re trying to build a future for them.”

Winston, who wasn’t working or in school when his mother took him to interview for a student slot at nonPareil, said the institute is a perfect fit for him. After graduating from a North Dallas high school in 2010, Winston signed up for a composition class at Richland College, but never went because he had “too much anxiety,” he said.

“(nonPareil) gave me the skills I needed,” he said. “There is less pressure here and great camaraderie. People understand how I’m made up.”

The institute has proven transformational for O’Brien as well. O’Brien, who has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Houston, was throwing papers, working as a crossing guard and doing part-time clerical work when she heard about nonPareil. She traded those jobs to be a student at nonPareil, and has worked her way into a position as a staff programmer and instructor.

“I like programming and I like making apps,” O’Brien said. “It’s fun.”
Building corporate partnerships
Students at nonPareil pay $600 a month to take classes. The money is used to help keep the nonprofit business running. Revenue from apps goes back to the institute, although so far the apps haven’t racked up big sales, in part because the institute doesn’t have much of a marketing budget, its founders say. App sales totaled about $500 last year.

The goal is for mobile app revenue to sustain nonPareil’s operating budget, CEO Dan Selec said. Selec and Moore co-founded nonPareil along with John Eix in July 2009, and the organization’s first classes were held in Selec’s kitchen. Selec, Moore and Eix, a nonPareil board member who works in business development for Dallas law firm Hunton & Williams LLP, all have sons with autism.

“The thing that the three of us were so passionate about when we began was, once school systems were done with the kids at 18 years old, it’s very difficult for them to move into a corporate environment,” Eix said. “They don’t process information that way and they don’t process emotion that way. But if you put them in an environment where they’re working together, where they appreciate one another because they know what the other one is going through, they just absolutely thrive.”

The institute is building corporate partnerships with companies such as Google, Selec said. That company has a “Google Spectrum Team” which engages people with autism nationwide to work on projects, he said. Google provides licensing to nonPareil for some of its software products, Selec said. The company also uses donated software from Microsoft, Valve and other corporations, he said.

Texas Instruments, Vision2 Systems, Accent Networks and Cinemark Theaters are among the corporate supporters of nonPareil as well, Eix said.

The institute has four apps in the Apple iTunes store, three apps in the Google Play store and another 10 in the pipeline, Selec said. While sales of nonPareil products haven’t taken off yet, it only takes one breakout app — an Angry Birds, for example — to dramatically change a company’s revenue picture, he said.

The institute tries to take a market-driven approach to the employment challenges faced by people with autism, Selec said.

“If we can consistently get product on the market, instead of having this tidal wave of individuals look for a welfare answer or a governmental answer, what we’re focused on is getting them resources they need to learn and earn their own way in their lives,” he said. “Let’s help them live fulfilled lives through the work that they can do.

“We’re committed to giving them the skills that they need to build great products and compete in the marketplace.”
APPS AND AUTISM
NAME: nonPareil Institute
BUSINESS: App and game development
HEADQUARTERS: 5240 Tennyson Pkwy., Ste. 105, Plano 75024
OWNERSHIP: Nonprofit
TOP EXECUTIVE: Dan Selec, CEO
EMPLOYEES: 23
PHONE: 972-473-3593
WEB: npitx.org

The Huffington Post profiled nonPareil Institute in its online issue recently:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/autism-employment-white-collar-jobs_n_1916611.html

nonPareil was featured in a recent ComputerWorld article:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225562/Institute_s_mobile_apps_are_built_by_hands_of_those_with_autism?taxonomyId=77

We were also just highlighted as part of a story that ran a few months ago on Channel 8 (the ABC affiliate in Dallas):
http://www.wfaa.com/community/autism/Parents-of-children-with-autism-greatest-fear--What-happens-when-the-school-bus-stops-coming-151788515.html

Also, the documentary filmmaker has been filming a documentary profiling nonPareil. He provided us this trailer in advance of the film’s release later this year:
www.creektreefilms.com/programminghopevideo.html

And also, I made The Dallas Morning News' op-ed section over a year ago:
http://letterstotheeditorblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/04/what-can-we-do.html

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find it more space both locally and nationally.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

June 25, 2013

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June 25, 2013

I am a donor but my grandson is a student at nonPareil and I feel we are blessed to be a part of this wonderful opportunity. Eric because he has a future thanks to the hard work and dedication of the founders and staff. For my part I feel honored to contribute a small part to what I know will be the start of something wonderful for adults with autism. This concept is one that is long overdue and should lead to
changes in how training for young adults with limited capabilities is provided. The future of this country depends on creative ideas for those who do not fit into the main stream. They should be allowed to develop skills to enable them to be a productive part of our world.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It needs to be expanded to allow more students. Another campus in Ft. Worth is needed along with living quarters.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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