NonPareil Institute (nP) is all about developing potential. The organization is dedicated to helping young adults with autism gain confidence, technical skills, and supporting them in their quest to become their best possible selves. Our daughter is currently attending nP in Austin, TX and has been enrolled for just over a year. To describe our experience in a word: Astounding. Every parent with an autistic child knows the challenges, frustrations, hopes and fears as their child moves from the cocoon of support in grade school into the real world. Their disability makes this transition extremely difficult. All the supports in the structured school environment evaporate overnight. Our experience with nP has been wonderful. Our daughter has matured more in the past year than we ever thought possible. The focus of the entire organization is on helping autistic young adults achieve their own level of independence by providing an environment where they can thrive. The staff in Austin (Kim, Kristen, Joel, and Chris) are superstars. The campus here did not miss a beat when the world changed in March 2020. After only a one week break, the school was back, full steam, on-line. Due to the hard work of the staff, our daughter has managed the changes of the past 6-months effortlessly. Thanks to their amazing efforts, the environment has remained safe, cohesive, and they have enabled the “crew” to adapt and overcome without missing a beat. Autism is a journey, not a destination... three steps forward, two steps back, one sideways... always striving to keep moving down the path. No-one can predict were this journey will take our daughter, but NonPareil has helped her immeasurably as she prepares to engage the real-world. The metamorphosis that nP is enabling is nothing short of astounding. Note: My wife and I both serve as volunteer members of the parent advisory board for the Austin Campus.
nonPareil Institute has made an impact on many lives of the people they serve, their families and the community as a whole. Their staff's committment and drive to build better lives for adults with autism is phenomenal.
nonPareil has been a blessing in my son's life. He has developed and learned skills that he otherwise would not have had the opportunity to learn. The staff are caring and understanding and work hard to develop soft skills as well as learning technical skills. There is a great sense of community and helped my son develop friends. I cannot recommend nonPareil enough. They are truly making an impact in the autism community for adults.
As a parent I have been so blessed to have my son living with autism be a part of this great orginization! He has gained skills that I never thought possible and the sense of community for him is wonderful! I am so grateful to have found this orginization for my son who was sitting in his bedroom alone playing video games. Thanks for all you do nP for my son!
nonPareil has been life-changing for me! I was diagnosed when I was 24 and this January I was able to start attending at nP. I've made many friends and I've been learning coding. Everyone works with me and what will help me improve in even everyday life. I'm grateful to be a part of the nonPareil family!
it´s a pleasure to say , as a father with a son under spectrum at Non Pareil Institute /Orlando , for the second year now, that my son increase his sociability and knowledges by far than expected.
He is so happy there, so understood. I can only recommend strongly this wonderful institute .
Not to say the incredible effort made during the covid period.
God bless the ceo and all his team !
My son Gabriel learned he was autistic in middle school when Sandy Hook Elementary brought fear of autism to his middle school. Prior to that he was a boy trying to rip off a label. Nonpareil has made him realize that he can make a positive difference in the world for other young adults on the spectrum. He has benefited from core classes and social networking opportunities he would not otherwise have had and is working hard in the hopes of one day being part of the faculty that teaches graphic design and social appropriate adult activities to others! It has been the defining education for Gabe! It is a place where he can be understood and build empathy and respect for those that may not otherwise speak out for Autism. ! For me as a parent there are no words that can begin to express my humble gratitude for the time and attention Gary Moore & Orlando Nonpareil have taken to understand my son's talents, gifts and quirks! He is proud of who he is because he belongs to NonPareil !
nonPareil has been life changing for our son. While he is classified as "high functioning" on the Spectrum-he found navigating after high school difficult. nonPareil was an answer to prayer for our family and out son!
He is on the digital track and he loves what he is learning. But in addition-he enjoys and benefits from the comradery with the other crew members.
This is an amazing program--I can't say enough about it.
I joined the advisory board in Houston because of my belief in this organization and for everything that I have seen them to for the young adults that attend nonPareil!
We have a 24 year old son who is on the Autism spectrum. He is a new student at NonPareil and our experience has been wonderful! The training and the social environment are exactly what he needs.
The staff and teachers at NonPareil are outstanding.
For the first time in my daughter's life, she has found a place where she's not the exception. She has found a place to be herself and that has allowed her to grow in ways that I would not have thought possible. The CORE classes she attends provides her the opportunity to learn and safely practice the social skills she will need to succeed in the neurotypical world. nonPareil provides that safe place with a staff that understands her struggles. Although the future will be a struggle, I have hope for her safety and success, something that was definitely running low.
From the early days of nonPareil Institute, it was clear there was an urgent need for organizations focusing on adults on the spectrum, especially after the support offered by schools and colleges runs out. I was invited to support well-meaning people who not only get it, many live it every day as parents of children on the spectrum, the result of which is high levels of empathy and urgency to succeed in finding meaningful solutions.
The organization has evolved over the years responding more directly to initiatives that most closely support the goal of teaching life and technical skills best serving the attendees for their future. My personal observation is that it often appears those most thankful for the nonPareil Institute existence are the parents of those on the spectrum. It is not easy work and the organizations persistence, adaption and constant optimism are a tribute to all those that help make the organization possible. It is truly rewarding to be part of this enterprise.
It has been an absolute privilege to be part of this much needed and very successful organization. The founders Dan and Gary made a leap of faith and commitment few would dare. The result is an organization that is helping hundreds and will soon be thousands of individuals, students and family members alike, providing skills training, a community like no other, and above all hope to those who have few options. The organization deserves the recognition and support to further that vision. The people working there provide selflessly of themselves for the single purpose of providing an opportunity to those who might not be afforded those chances in life we so easily accept for ourselves. And the students are instinctively drawn into the community and opportunity provided. The grand dream of expanding that vision to include housing, work training, life training and work opportunities will be a reality in time.
nonPareil Institute is a nonprofit that should have been started much sooner than its modest history. I was instantly drawn into the passion that was displayed by those who worked there in not only providing technical learning, but also the intangibles that will assist those with autism to navigate within society with confidence. I have personally witnessed the benefit that nonPareil has done for individuals that attended it's curriculum. The continued success of individuals cannot be overlooked, something is definitely being done correctly.
A marvelous outcome for my son. He has grown from a student to a team leader to an instructor plus handling numerous special projects thanks to the development training provided by a dedicated staff at nonPareil. It has been particularly satisfying for me to observe the growth in his skills and abilities during the past few weeks when he has been working from home. Listening to his precise speaking while instructing or reviewing a project, there is no doubt that nonPareil is at the top in its ability to provide training to help someone on the spectrum develop !!
"They just get it," I thought to myself upon leaving my first visit to nonPareil. I'm sure that most parents of children/young adults on the spectrum know what I'm talking about. I knew after talking to the staff and seeing what the "crew members" were involved in that our son's needs would be more than met in this setting. Our son who is on the high functioning end of the spectrum and now 30 years old, has been a "crew member" at nP for 2 years. He has thrived there and gained so much self awareness and confidence. We can honestly say that we've seen improvements in many aspects of his sociability. He was also promoted to actually be a part time staff member (lab assistant) and loves the responsibility that he has. The staff believes in constantly growing and changing the program in order to meet everyones needs. They realize that most parents want their young adults to be able to step into a job at some point so the staff is constantly beefing us the program to reach those goals. Overall it is a caring and dynamic program that is perfectly suited to young adults on the autism spectrum.
Our son is a "high functioning" adult on the autism spectrum. Even though he earned a college degree, can live fairly independently and is muti-talented, we were unable to envision a productive and secure future for him. He had been out of college for about 6 years and had little to no job experience, when we learned about nonParei Institute. Learning to code and develop video games just sounded ideal as he is passionate about them. Much to our surprise he fell in love with the program immediately and now see's it as a potential career path. Without a doubt, the staff at nonPareil "get it." The program is multi-dimensional, including a technical side and a social/life skills side. Both sides communicate with each other and work together to achieve optimal success. The crew members are able to follow and develop their strengths while gaining invaluable team building and social skills. Our son is now a part time staff member serving as a lab assistant. We could not be more pleased and very grateful that we found nonPareil!
A great program for adults on the autism spectrum to gain the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and life.
What a beautiful and inspiring institution. Seeing young men and women socializing, sharing ideas, supporting each other in their endeavors to learn and grow to one day fulfill their own dreams of contributing to society. I hope more people can see what is happening in their own community. A missing link, a whole, has been filled for these students. God bless
Really impressed with what nonPareil did to help adults with autism and their families during the Coronavirus crisis. They worked incredible hours to move as much in-person learning to online during the pandemic. They first focused on social engagement and support, which was most critical due to the social isolation caused by the virus. Then they added as much technical training as possible. Thank you, nonPareil, for always putting adults with autism first.
I have been a volunteer, parent and board member for nonPareil for 9 years. As such, I am in a position to know exactly what goes on at nP...and no one can accuse me of having a monetary interest.
Like any healthy organization, nonPareil operates from a mission statement, but has also made strategic decisions over time in response to market forces and opportunities. The video game industry has become fiercely competitive with new games coming out with multimillion dollar marketing campaigns. Corporations have become more interested in hiring adults with autism...or providing work opportunities to adults with autism. We have seen more adults with autism interested in work and more of their parents interested in outcomes which include work.
So yes, nonPareil still teaches video game technology...but nonPareil is NOT primarily a video game studio. The beauty of teaching this technology is that game or app development requires teamwork and project management- important vocational skills that are applicable in any type of work or living environment. Whether you come to nonPareil for a limited amount of time or stay for the long run, you will learn skills that can help in everyday living and working in the community.
nonPareil still puts out new video games every year. nonPareil has begun developing apps under contract for other businesses. nonPareil is currently piloting a program in Houston the will qualify participants for Google IT certifications that can lead to jobs in helpdesk, network, programming and more. This will be rolled out in other locations in the near future.
Yes, some Plano staff have left...and others have been hired. New hires have also occurred in Houston, Austin and Orlando. Our resident 'expert' in a particular technology, who is involved with curriculum development and oversight in his/her specialty, may be in a different city. With today's technology, it is easy for people in different locations to work together. That makes the entire organization more dynamic.
Several folks who have left...some, more than 1 or 2 years ago - have chosen to write negative reviews, essentially saying that nonPareil is not like it used to be. What they do not realize is that it is now better! There are more tech courses, more social engagement opportunities, more CORE courses focused on vocational readiness and independent living. There are more job opportunities - we have added at least 20 more adults with autism to the payroll in 2019 alone, all above minimum wage.
I have watched my own son with autism develop at nonPareil. I've known many Crewmembers for years. I see the difference from the first time they nervously attend to the confidence they develop over time. nonPareil changes lives for the better.
More than 50,000 children with autism finish school every year. We are delighted to see so many organizations starting to address the needs of adults with autism. The need is great. I, and others, will continue build better futures for adults with autism at nonPareil Institute.
I went to nonPareil from 2013 until 2018. There are some issues I would like to shed light on.
1. There was barely any structure for students for students when I was there. Everyone would get "quests", which were assignments to work on. I went into level design and then coding. For the level design quests, I could just throw a bunch of low-effort uses of the application together and get a pass instantly. For coding, I wasn't taught how to properly design code ("inside-out design") and instead made what were basically code structure versions of Jenga towers (too unstable).
I don't blame the instructors for that though. The fact that this happened with all three of my courses tells me that it's not an issue with instructors. I feel that they were doing the best that they could without a system designed to make things easier on two people with Autism. Interpersonal skills such as teaching are much more difficult for instructors when they are on the autism spectrum, and even worse when a system supposedly designed for people with ASD doesn't help them adapt.
2. They let in a bunch of students, or "Crew", who had serious issues on their own. I had not always behaved amazingly growing up, but I had a clean record and did not intentionally cause any issues while at nonPareil. I made it a point to keep my head down, my mouth shut, and my nose out of trouble. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for a lot of people there.
There are a lot of common themes I noticed with many people there: people constantly talking over each other, lack of respect for rules and boundaries, individual obsessions over weird subjects, and especially a lack of emotional self-control. You put two people together with these traits, and the odds of an argument or physical fight are very high. And when you get an entire room full, the same result as someone throwing a lit match into a room full of fireworks. Now just for fun, add multiplayer games such as Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and Mario Party or games that allow for characters in skimpy outfits. Want to guess what happens?
I want to make it clear that I still believe in nonPareil...as a concept. I cannot believe in it the way it is due to the complete chaos there. I believe that the believe that private enterprises are people applies in this case. In this case, this "person" has shown an inability to manage the chaos going on inside their own biological systems.
I don’t want to give them a Single star. But it looks like I have to give one to put my two cents in. Let me just say that our daughter attended there for five years and we put thousands of dollars into an empty bag with a hole in the bottom. If you are interviewing there thinking of sending your child and spending your money and someone starts telling you that there’s a waiting list and can you wait start running. Especially when miraculously within days your child is bumped to the top of the waiting list. When you can’t find any place to volunteer within their organization, RUN! If you were thinking is this the flimflam Man? RUN!
I don’t even want to give one star. I fell for their promises and fairy tales! This company set our family up to believe our high functioning son would be employed by nP. Years passed by and still nothing. The only change was the tuition increased and if we brought up he really wanted to be employed we were told he needed to take another course. Let me add that if your child is “hired” they still get to pay tuition! It is a shame that the people in charge continue to exploit adults on the spectrum to fill their bank own accounts. Total scam. It could have been an awesome opportunity for so many!
This place used to have a meaning - to hire autistic people. But some time later they changed that and it's unfortunate that if you work on the projects you're unlikely to get any royalties. You pay to work for free in this place which is almost certainly illegal in so many ways.
Honestly this should've just stayed as hiring autistic adults not building better futures. And even so you won't get any certifications. Sorry to say but NonPareil went downhill around 2018. I only stuck around because I was constantly reminded that the location in Fort Worth was going to open soon... and it never did. So in a way I was lied to by the CEO about this so they can continue having me there for their own personal gain.
Do NOT donate to this place. If you donate here you are supporting apparent human trafficking.
It was my understanding in my combined 3 years at non pareil and belief at the time that alongside other individuals on the autism spectrum, I would learn material that public schools and colleges could not teach effectively, achieve goals that normal businesses would have deemed impossible for me, and actually be a productive member of society with the same opportunity and chance to accomplish great things as anyone else who was not on the spectrum would.
That was what the organization promised to deliver.
That was what myself and my family hoped would happen.
That is why we spent several years as silver sponsors for the Non pareil golf tournaments and hockey team.
It was all empty promises hatched in malevolent lies.
There was no structural organization as is needed in any work environment, no incentive to do anything productive since there were no deadlines to meet and no repercussions for not showing up. As a result, most projects were either delayed or cancelled with no hope for completion or were released years later only to have no one play it. Or even promote it.
I regret to say that I have not even scraped the tip of the proverbial iceberg in regards to the entirety of the mishandling and misrepresentation of the company.
According to a contact of mine who shall remain unnamed for fears of blackmail, there are emails involving senior staff refusing to hire an individual on the autism spectrum because of his/her sexual orientation and their “autism”.
Put aside the blatant violation of the laws regarding discrimination against the homosexual community (regardless of your stance, I am referring to legality.) Let the latter sink in for a moment... an institute for autism that rejects positions to people with autism based on autism as a reason.
Discrimination. That’s what I received at np.
When I recommended that non pareil have more structure and incentives and positive/negative reinforcement with making or breaking commitments to working hard and have it function like an actual business and not a condescending day camp for adults, they simply said, “Well, let’s set you up with essentials. So you can organize yourself.”
Discrimination. Discrimination. Discrimination.
And I am not alone. There are others I know who have received worse from that company.
Make no mistake, non pareil is a scam, a greedy, money grubbing pestilence at its root. It’s founders are crooked charlatans out to deceive and swindle by any means necessary.
Even to this day, the founder himself is continuing to contact my family and looking for funding for a new company. He tried to get me and another friend to build his website for free, and is now paying a former senior staff to np to do the same thing I was.
The only thing I can safely say was a positive about that horrible abyss is the friends I made who feel the exact same way.
I could write a novel, but I have said plenty.
Would have been a crew member at nonPareil for 7 years, but I left because I can't trust one of the higher ups and crew members don't get notified with changes beforehand. I used to enjoy nonPareil, but I now know the ugly truth about this program. Too much toxicity and they are greedy with the money. This place is now nothing, but a joke.
I was a student at NPI a few years ago. The biggest complaint I have is I believe the company creates false hope for students hoping to break into software gaming development. The school is nothing more than day care for adults on the spectrum. Hardly any projects see the light of day and the ones that do aren't something most consumers would be interested in buying. If you actually make it pass the student level and become an employee you are most likely not going to be paid a living wage, even if you have a college degree.
One of my drawings which was of a character from an intellectual property I didn't own was sold without my consent. I never signed a contract that disclosed they could perform such an action, nor did I sign any contract at all for that matter.
A high ranking crew member once made a passing homophobic remark in my presence, assuming I wouldn't have an issue with it. I found it quite upsetting and unprofessional. For the record he has since left the company.
The school was also supposed to be secular based however I recall a time where they encouraged praying before we ate pizza for lunch. There was also a drawing of Jesus Christ on the wall in one of our work rooms. Which again I find to be inappropriate because this was not advertised as a Christian school.
There were students with incredibly unruly and obnoxious attitudes who would hurl insults and couldn't work well in a team. Yet some stayed for months on end when it was clear they weren't going to take this program seriously.
I write all this because I encourage any parent who might think this is a good school for their offspring to to think again. It's an absolute waste of time and money, there is almost zero chance they will see an artistic or financial success working with NPI.
When I visited nonPareil Institute in Plano, Texas seven years ago, I was looking for a safe place for my daughter Katie to explore her interests in technology. NonPareil has more than delivered, coming to Houston and setting up shop here almost 4 years ago. Katie is very happy. She used to be isolated for the most part, but now she is learning how to be a part of a community, how to be a friend and colleague and not incidentally, she is learning to write code and next, level design. She’s gone from being a very self-absorbed young lady to someone who is a good friend and capable of participating in group work. I am so impressed.
In Houston we have gone from serving an initial crew of about 25 to more than 85 at this point, and we have room for more as we added 9000 ft.² to our premises last December. We are fortunate in our dedicated staff of technologists, artists, educators and speech language pathologists focused on life skills training. There is no place like nonPareil In this country and we are so pleased to be part of the program.
Review from Guidestar
The CFO has spoiled her son at nonPareil to a ridiculous degree.
He has physically struck a neurotypical staff member, and was only suspended for 1 day. Other crew that have struck crew and threatened staff have been suspended for a week - if not expelled.
He has defecated on nonpareil property in front of other crew and assaulted some of the most impacted crew with flatulence and physical assault. A crew member more impacted than him lost bowel control in the bathroom, and was expelled - or as the management diplomatically prefer to say ‘asked to leave.’
The CFO’s son has yelled, screamed, cussed at, bear false witness against, and said ‘I hate you’ to both neurotypical and crew staff and volunteers alike. Other crew would be sent home immediately or have a parent talk for less disruptive antics.
When staff would notify management, the former and current CEO would lecture the staff more than the CFO’s son. The issue was money. Too bad I didn’t have a family member on the board, or maybe I could act like a self-absorbed prince too! Then I could benefit from nepotism first-hand.
I witnessed many crew that were as impacted as the CFO’s son - if not more so, and do things not half as bad on their worst day. They were severely punished. Then you have someone doing what could get other crew arrested, and he gets the proverbial slap on the wrist.
One of the worst cases of all was when another crew member who was devoid of just about any real friends threw a fit over an emotional episode, and was suspended for 2 weeks. He didn’t even assault anyone. He has an unsupportive family. He was among those who needed nonpareil the most. They gave him penalties that they should have given the CFO’s son; but now he’s going nowhere in life.
The son has gone increasingly absent from activity in the Plano office in recent years. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen him working with dedication on something without guidance. That doesn’t sound like much progress to me. You would think that with such influence, and proclivity to indulge, the CFO would be able to manipulate the company to steering her son towards more productivity.
There have been several female crew members, who were energetic to be part of the nonpareil program and made an effort to diligently learn and work on self improvement daily. Although they did antagonize others, as the son of the CFO does regularly, they were reprimanded and punished in a much greater degree in comparison to the son of the CFO, who is less than apathetic, when it comes to learning new skills at nonpareil.
This is a perfect example of inequality in the workplace, plain and simple.
The supposedly “official” formal decision in 2010 by the nonpareil board to not discriminate, seems to be having little effect for these female crew members. Smoke and mirrors?
This review is untrue & malicious. While we zealously protect the privacy of our crew members, the viciousness of the “reviewer’s” false & defamatory statements compel us to respond with the truth. We have no record of anyone named Edward Hewitt ever being associated with nP. This crew member has never hit a staff member or defecated in front of other crew members. nonPareil has a Code of Conduct that has been strictly adhered to by everyone, including this crew member. nonPareil deals with each client’s situation in a personal & private manner. The CFO is a long-term volunteer. As the parent, she clearly knows more about the progress of her son than would this review writer. Issues concerning attendance are strictly matters between the Crew member, family and nonPareil. We invite this reviewer, as with anyone, to address issues directly with the management staff, including the CEO.
Having a sense of belonging means so much. nP Institute provides a community and an opportunity to belong and can be a great match for certain young adults. The staff is warm and caring and strives to find various ways to best support and help young adults succeed.
The transition to adulthood is hard enough but adults like my brother need advocacy and accommodations which are not as easy to come by after you graduate high school. As a college alumni, I can speak to the accommodations that were provided to former students in my class that were on the spectrum. They were only provided with notes taken by other students and had a time extension on exams. If you need tutoring, you need to be able to communicate what help you need. For many on the autism spectrum, the biggest challenge is communication. My brother tried community college and got extremely frustated when he couldn’t keep up with the class and the professor would not hold up the rest of the students to give the attention my brother needed. NonPareil is establishing a bridge to employment by offering technical training courses with a curriculum tailored to adults on the spectrum unlike any other school or university at an affordable price and focuses on marketable technology skills to improve professional development. NonPareil focuses not only on technology but also on soft skills to enable members to collaborate effectively and have confidence in job interviews. It’s a great organization that will give members an opportunity to make friends and enhance skills that can be added to a resume which will make them more employable.
nonPareil is an outstanding institute that provides a great opportunity for those diagnosed with autism. I have seen first hand how dedicated the faculty is to their students and they constantly go above and beyond what’s expected.
My brother is a crew member at the location in Orlando and the joy he has from attending nonPareil is tangible!!! He has developed skills in design in a matter of weeks that blow my mind, I already attempted to play a computer game he developed and it was one of the most challenging and engaging computer games I’ve ever played. nonPareil provides not only a place for those that have been cast out from the world to develop their skills in technology and creativity, it also gives them a family and is run by people who truly care about each student. I’m very thankful to have something like this for adults on the spectrum!
I have been a supporter and doner of non-Pareil for a very long time and cannot say enough about the wondeful work they do. Their tireless work and commitment to what they do is outstanding! It is hard to imagine a world without a place like this that provides so much genuine support, care and opportunites to the these wonderful indiviuals on the spectrum! Providing them a place they can truly grow and learn. No wonder they are so loved and appreciated by so many across the country!
My husband and I enrolled our daughter at the NonPareil Institute in 2011. We entrusted her into the care and training of the Institute, and they have done amazing work with our daughter; she has positively blossomed, and I attribute much of that growth to her time at the NonPareil Institute. Nonpareil is a “safe space”, where our daughter can be herself without regard to how she may appear to others. Autism is such a complex developmental disability; it manifests in so many different ways and in so many different gradations. Raising a child with Autism has proven to be one of our greatest challenges, if not the greatest. To find a place dedicated to working with adults on the Autism Spectrum, with so many iterations and functional levels, is beyond remarkable. It is inspiring that the NonPareil Institute has taken on such a monumental challenge, to ameliorate the projected outcomes for so many impacted adults. I applaud their good work, and support them in every way that I can.
I admit to being quite nonplussed by the negative reviews that I see posted here, online. I have spent a great deal of time at the Institute, and I have never witnessed discord or discontent by anyone there, staff or crew member. I realize that everything may not have been perfect, but it was not fraught, and everyone was always purposeful and working through their various duties. If you know anything about Autism, you know that you cannot be as close to its expression as the staff at NonPareil, simply for the sake of money. It’s too all encompassing, it requires so much more than just one’s energy. It requires the heart and soul of every individual who works there, and labors, instructs and guides crew members; who serve as mentors, and resources, and places of trust and respite for our young adults. You simply cannot please all the people all the time, but I cannot help wondering if the many negative reviews are an attempt to defame this wonderful organization, and diminish their impact in the community. If this is a case of “Review Bombing”, or another such malicious attack, I say, “shame”. I know that the door to NonPareil has always been open to us as parents, that there has always been transparency in what they do toward the achievement of the goals of the organization and for our daughter, that we have been apprised of every change to our daughter’s program prior to implementation, that we have been given the opportunity to engage with staff if we desire, and we are unaware of any lie, myth, or subterfuge that has been perpetrated by NonPareil or its staff. It pangs me to read the accusations and negative reviews that have been posted when our daughter has benefitted so greatly from the program.
Please allow this review to counterbalance the negative reviews.
Look beyond the 5 star reviews...
The President/CEO has carried on a quiet campaign to gut the technology component and staff while still selling the programs to donors and parents as nothing has changed. While it is true that the games have not sold and little revenue is seen for sales, the blame can rest solely on him for not getting any marketing or serious development people in the right places. Fundraising has been an abysmal failure at every turn, as competing programs like My Possibilities and 29 acres has rocketed passed nonPareil in the last few years. No one of real depth has been hired to seriously push the program. This no doubt has a purpose. He wants no one there to question how scripted and stupid his approach is. He is bereft of any ability to manage a schedule much less the staff around him who he antagonizes to belligerence on a daily basis.
This same President/CEO is currently in the middle of a complete staff turnover seeing some 15+ employees leave in the last 2 years. And what is the answer to this? Hiring those on the spectrum to replace them. This sounds great in theory and practice until you realize the real reasons why. Aspie staff are never paid competing wages with the neurotypical staff. Simply put, an aspie staff member will make on average 1/3 of the wage per hour as an equivalent neurotypical colleague. This is around $11 per hour. And it is hardly a livable wage. See the point here? They can be hired with much fanfare from parents and donors but in reality, it is only because they can be paid far less while making the company look good. Unfortunately, this is accepted because parents and Crew are desperate and naive. What is shocking is that the President/CEO is being paid nearly $170,000! This is publicly posted on the 990 form filed with the IRS and no parents say a word...they just keep writing tuition checks.
The Director of Operations, who manages the Crew and some of the day-to-day, is highly bureaucratic and incompetent, with no background in technology or business. He is petty and throttles the engagement of many Crew staff, excluding them from company Christmas parties and deceiving others leading them to believe they have a future career there. His only contribution is to be highly rehearsed and plastic, calling everyone a "subject matter expert" so as to not give away the realities of a business that is failing. But he has "skin in the game" as his son is employed with the program and is a Crew member. He apparently coerces subordinates behind the scenes to give his son more paid hours, regardless of merit.
The Chief Program Officer is hailed as a "dr" in a world of superficial degrees. He is yet another example of a failure to staff a company in desperate need of professionals to assist in the cognitive health of its clients. Do not let his slick, used car salesman demeanor belie his true intentions. He cares nothing for the Crew but only his self-advancement. He simply steals and repackages the ideas from those around him to make it appear he has anything to offer of actual value. Case in point is the ridiculous rollout of the new "program" which is based on quarters and is to be completed by the average Crew member is about 3 years. This model requires a curriculum so shallow and vapid it makes training at a McDonald's look rigorous. It has not even been completed before the new campuses came online recently. But he will run around pretending to be smart and take credit while using impressionable women who work for him to do any of his work. He is at best a low IQ womanizer with no real experience in management or psychology, aside from being a Chipotle barista...if you consider that a profession.
The technology component is quietly being phased out. It is only left to sell seats to the program and keep it open long enough to open another location with similar hopes to end in dashed dreams and manufactured false success. There is little doubt the games and digital releases will grind to a halt. Those who worked there who cared have all left or been run out. The board has been seeded with sycophants who will vote in lock step with the President/CEO's agenda. And that has one end: make those in in corporate a good living --- it was never about autism.
Our son started at Houston nonPareil in 2016. The staff was so warm and inviting and fun for him that he quickly felt part of a family. This is what we saw: His conversation increased; he insisted on attending every day; he made friends; he started talking to us more; he started talking to EVERYONE more, asking questions. Staff challenged him to be more organized and to participate. He felt safe and cared for. The staff is continually working on the program, adding new classes and groups and clubs. This is beyond anything we could have asked for or imagined. We thank God for nonPareil.
Do you want to know the truth? Maybe you haven’t found other options, so you need to believe in the facade. If you really want to know the truth, look behind the curtain. Yes, it appears to be a place of hope for adults on the autism spectrum. However, after 7 years of teaching, project-managing, leading, mentoring, and advocating for the crew, I decided to leave the company after my eyes were opened to oppressive, self-serving, and dishonest behavior from leaders who refused to listen to anyone who challenged their decisions. Do you think it’s okay to exclude the Aspie staff from getting the button-down company shirts and name badges that all other staff members received? What about excluding them from weekly staff meetings? Should neurotypical staff be the only ones invited to company staff parties? Surely, a company claiming to “Build Better Futures for Adults on the Autism Spectrum” wouldn’t do these things! Oh, but they did!! Imagine the 2017 Staff Christmas Party held on-site during business hours, where only neurotypicals were invited. While the party was occurring in the Mos Eisley room, our Aspie colleagues could see us through the window! It broke my heart!!! Unfortunately, because the current CEO and his followers detested anyone who challenged their thinking, I had to be very careful until I found another job. If I had been financially secure, I would have quit on the spot! To be clear, prior to the party when I saw the email with the names of my Aspie colleagues missing, I approached the person responsible for taking menu orders. She emailed the Director of Operations to ask if they should be included, but he replied, “No, they are getting gift cards.” What?!!! Why are they being treated less than the neurotypical staff?!! In mid-January, after one of the excluded staff members shared his deep disappointment regarding all of the ways they were treated inferiorly, did I decide to risk losing my job. On 1/19/18 I spoke to the Director of Operations about the injustice and unrighteousness. When he tried to say that it was my responsibility to speak up prior to the party, I let him know that I not only did that, but that I also read his response denying them access to the party. (He knew that I was documenting everything.) The next day, I learned from my Aspie colleague that the Director of Operations apologized to him and the others and told them that the company would order shirts and name badges and start including them in the meetings. Why the sudden change??? You decide. Maybe the Director of Operations knew that nP was at-risk for lawsuits, or at least public outrage. As for me, having felt betrayed by those who present nothing more than a façade, I moved on to a positive work environment, while remaining in touch with some crew and colleagues. I can only imagine how those on the autism spectrum must feel. Do you think they feel valued and respected? Are they limited by a glass ceiling?
Additional questions should be asked about the integrity of the information provided to families. On the surface, Nonpareil appears successful, because presenting a positive spin on the data is what the Chief Program Officer is good at…not making meaningful connections with the crew or being an autism expert immediately after earning his degree. Maybe there are a lot of employment hours and reported success in terms of those who move on to college, other training, or jobs. However, if you separate the hours of the few full-time staff from part-time, and review the average number of hours for part-time employees, you will see a clearer story. Also, you need to understand that those part-timers continue to pay the full tuition, while the full-timers earn ridiculously low salaries. Even one autistic member of staff with a Masters in Computer Science was hired to work at nP at a salary that is near-impossible to support oneself…and that was 25% more than the former CEO wanted to offer, all while he and the current CEO were making big money! In my shock and dismay, I advocated for the higher pay, which was still way too low! After working there several years, he left nP for a position that earned several times the pay he was still making at nP. While Nonpareil may claim this as their program success, this autistic member of staff was never part of the crew. Not only that, drastically underpaying someone who has very marketable skills while filling executives’ pockets should never be considered success! It’s plain wrong!!
Further questions regarding the numbers which appear to indicate program success involve claiming success in situations where there was no real success. Apparently, the Chief Program Officer decided to count a success when a crew member left the program to either attend school or training, or to get a job, regardless of the job and regardless of the level of satisfaction of the crew member and family. For example, it was announced a success when someone returned to his part-time job at a fast-food restaurant after a couple of years in the technical program. Is that the kind of success that families are seeking? Another crew member who put forth very little effort during his 3+ years in the program left Nonpareil. When I asked him if he learned anything at Nonpareil, he said, “Yes! I’m now able to get a job that I’m too lazy to do!” (Yikes!) At the next staff meeting when it was announced that he was leaving, we were told that it was a success because he was leaving to go to culinary school. Really??! Ultimately, the numbers presented don't reveal the true story.
Throughout my years at Nonpareil, I spoke to the former CEO about the way the current CEO sold the program to families and set inaccurate expectations. It seemed as though he’d do anything to get money in the door. Then, when crew members and their parents became dissatisfied because their expectations weren’t being met, he’d point to the technical leaders who worked day in and day out with limited resources. It’s a shame that people have been misled! They need hope so they believe, until they realize the truth. Sometimes, the truth is hard and painful and requires change, but it’s better than living in a fantasy.
Notice that a number of the people writing positive reviews to this website are Board members, even though they all don’t identify themselves that way. I wonder if they know the truth about the leaders? Do they care? When I met with the Chairman of the Board before I left, I suggested that he reach out to former employees to ask what caused them to leave and what they thought of both the former CEO and the current CEO. As far as I know, he never did, but instead wanted to believe that everyone had the right heart. Hmmm? Maybe that’s what he wanted to believe. Maybe that's easier than dealing with the hard truth. I wonder what his son who is on the autism spectrum, but not part of Nonpareil, would think about the information I’m sharing. Would he care? Does anyone care???
I should’ve written this review sooner, but I was weary when I left that toxic place. Even though it would’ve been easier to simply walk away, I truly care about the autistic adults that I served for so long. I want them to have a voice…a real voice. Today, I’m speaking up for them, while risking backlash from the current CEO and his followers. If #ProgrammingHope or #DallasNews or one of the other news outlets would do a follow-up of their programs/articles and speak privately to individuals, the autistic adults could be heard. Do you want to know the truth? Do you care?
This is a story of stonewalling, discrimination, and nepotism.
I had previous experience that would have made me a leading candidate for lab or social room attendant duties. The leadership would have known that to some degree and never really approached me on their own accord until a certain time after "the pivot."
The Director of Operations at the Plano location asked me about whether I'd like to have some attendant hours. This happened close to the turnover of quite a few hired crew left the company. It was uncharacteristic of the Director to ask crew in person the way he did with me. Through gently questioning him, I read between the lines that they were in fairly big need of attendants. This is a unique problem given the many crew that would actively seek such a position.
After some thought, I confirmed my interest with this Director. He told me to contact someone who was at the time part of Program Engagement.
That's where the trouble began...
The young lady that I was instructed to contact was praised by another female member of Program Engagement in front of crew instructors as "great at getting back to people" or "often takes no more than a day." That wasn't exactly the case with me. If anything, I WAS the one who would be prompt with following up as I currently don't recall a single time (if she emailed me) that I didn't get back to her within a day or two. In contrast, she would frequently take from the better part of a week to roughly 2 1/2 weeks to respond to my emails! Our exchange was all regarding her progress on getting me paid attendant hours. And believe me, those on the spectrum typically don't get paid a lot here! It ended just 20 minutes before the day that the office would be closed for a holiday break. She talked about how there was nothing available and would "let me know" soon (she never did).
Since then, the young woman has left the company to work at another company that works with people who are on the spectrum. It is to my understanding that the difference between her starting pay at this new company and her ending pay at nonpareil institute is beyond what many paid crew make in a year (myself included)! The son of the Director of Operations has comfortably over 12 paid hours as an attendant per week. I later hear from my assigned advisor that the Director of Operations claimed (behind my back) that I didn't get those hours because "he took too long to email the Program Engagement contact back." I've never even been told how soon to email someone, yet I'm better with autism at emailing this woman back than she is despite her education and being neurotypical. I sincerely doubt this woman would be so late in responding to the Director, the CPO, or the CEO/President. If she ever has, then I would imagine she'd be talked to. Why am I punished and she's basically put in connection with a better, higher-paying job?!
That's stonewalling and nepotism.
The Director never told me these things and I have no knowledge if he even read the email exchange. Why didn't the Director confirm who took too long to get back to who? Logically there's a handful of things that happened. 2 of them is that either the former employee or the Director lied about me. In one of them, the Director slanders me. In another, the Director shows his incompetence in fact-checking. Or perhaps if an attractive neurotypical female tells him of alleged incompetence that it's damning enough where he figures the autistic staff member's word is not worth hearing.
That's called discrimination.
I have been involved with nonPareil for the last 6 years both promoting the games developed by the crew and donating to the program. A close friend in the Special Needs program with Frisco Independent Schools introduced me to nonPareil. Her passion for the program ignited my own. There are many challenges for adults with autism once the support from public school ends, not the least is how to ensure they continue to grow and develop. My son with autism, has helped shape my understanding and desire to be involved with this program. nonPareil is not for all adults on the spectrum, and my son is not enrolled in the program, but he does support the objectives and goals. nonPareils’ program is designed to develop both commercially - viable technical skills and social skills. I am proud to be part of the team that is attempting to fill a significant vacuum in the community.
I was a crew member there for several years. During this time the President - now President & CEO - would ask me to do a variety of interpersonal tasks and jobs because of my relatively high social aptitude compared to many other crew members. With at least one of them, he clearly said that he would talk about paying me eventually - a talk that never came.
When crew members would complain, the President would give me very little guidance and constructive feedback, instead reporting to my parents - the main source of support. I felt like he was essentially blaming me for the very things he was telling me to do. When I would report to him, it would frequently take weeks for him to follow back with me. When I would ask him for what rules he wants put in place, he would say, "we'll take care of that soon" or something to that effect. It was very disenchanting for me to basically "play the bad cop" with crew that saw me more as a peer than an authority figure when the President would pay me little mind and no money.
Meanwhile, I continued to pay tuition (without discount) while working for free (frequently over 2 dozen hours a week) - having to rely on neurotypical staff already well-laden with their own burdens and dealing with the same headaches that the President has been historically guilty of causing. The tasks that he delegated to me greatly cut into my time that I could have spent focused on the technical skills I paid for and get my tuition money’s worth. My "job" - unlike being an instructor - didn't have any formal class, and I had to mostly teach myself how to handle many of the interpersonal tasks.
I honestly lost track of the hours I was never financially compensated for long ago...
From what I’ve heard, the new Director of the Plano office allegedly won’t let crew members work hours beyond what they’re paid to avoid some type of complaints for a government-run labor board. He was hired by the President (who is now also the CEO). I don’t quite understand why it was okay to allow unpaid hours from so many crew in years past; but now recently they suddenly worry about such complaints damaging the company?! The same President has been in position both before and after this was put in place.
This same President has been a part of nonpareil since they started hiring those on the autistic spectrum. The same President has also witnessed at least several crew members work more hours than they're paid while allowing to perpetuate the message that they'll one day "make more money" or "get more hours" at the company. The same President who has "stacked the deck in his favor" by filing the company's board with people he was either friends with before nonpareil, knew, or made deals with (that the former CEO allegedly hasn't). The same President who now has even more power with the former CEO and original neuro typical staff gone. The same President who replaced these ex-employees with relatively technology-illiterate sycophants taking their place. The same President who witnessed - and is far from innocent - of all these misfortunes (thus sharing responsibility and blame whether he'd like to or not). He knew they were going on and he had the lion’s share of power! The same President who points the finger at everyone else as the problem and never facing the "man in the mirror."
That same President now allows his Director to keep "the poor little aspies" from burdening themselves because "we care and we love you." I've lost track of how many times he's said, "I love you" and "I care about you" to someone he's lied to, broken promises with, and otherwise backstabbed. Perhaps he really just cares about the mass of quiet anger directed at the company he leads?! This man is indeed a parasitic charlatan!
Where was the concern for crew working extra hours for free years ago?! I guess maybe I should go to a government-run labor board then!
As a parent volunteer, I was fortunate enough to see first hand how this growing nonprofit loves on the young men and women they kindly call, "the crew." The amount of effort and compassion the staff deliver each and every day is astonishing. My son attends this amazing organization and was hired on as a part-time instructor. Dealing with autism as a parent is exhausting, but this staff go above and beyond every day for almost 220 individuals. My hat is off to nonPareil Institute!
I've been involved with nonPareil for five years, first as a donor, then volunteer, and now board member. I have great admiration for the people in this organization. They are committed to their mission "to build better futures for adults with autism". NonPareil's staff continues to learn, improve, and innovate while pursuing this mission. As they expand to new cities this year and in future years, I have no doubt their success will continue and grow, and they will help thousands of adults with autism reach their full potential.
The Chief Program Officer of nonpareil arrived very drunk and carrying a pack of beer, to one of nonPareil’s live improv performances.
These performances are hosted by the “Stomping Grounds Comedy Theatre”.
The theatre’s alcohol policy is BYOB, which is featured in the theatre’s “Buzzed: interactive Improv” show, which was held on March 16, 2019.
The show put on by nonpareil has performers on the Autism Spectrum, who are students of nonPareil.
It is not appropriate for the CPO to be drunk when he is at a nonPareil event with students.
nonPareil employees are focused on engaging with crew and families during public events. This particular venue does not sell alcoholic beverages. The accusations against staff are unfounded.
Our son attends nonPareil and learns not just a variety of technical skills, but also how to work in a team, how to communicate with others, time-management, and all those other soft-skills that employers expect. I'm aware of numerous student employment success stories, it just takes longer to get them there. The instructors and staff are amazing with their long hours, patience, and dedication. The gaming focus of the Institute is key because it motivates students, and without motivation, no learning takes place.
Extraordinary group of dedicated individuals who are providing a future for young adults with autism.
I have worked with many nonprofits over the years, but none as rewarding as my time spent with nonPareil. I've been a volunteer for several years now helping with anything from marketing efforts, events like the golf tournament fundraiser, to helping paint their ever-growing office in Plano. I've developed friendships with the crew and have seen their progress first-hand. It is truly an 'all hands on deck' work environment, and this expectation of their employees carries over into the classes where the crew learn different modules for game development. The crew is responsible for their own schedule which is great for learning self-reliance, and with instructors, crew members are held accountable for their schedule commitments. It's such a unique place and as a volunteer, I do whatever needs to be done because I believe in the cause.
The laughter and smiles I am greeted with each time I walk in the building are so refreshing and remind me how much of an impact this great company has on the many families involved in the nP community. It's an atmosphere of hope, support, friendship, and knowledge.
As in most cases, what you put in is what you get out. Working with individuals on the spectrum is a true calling that some later learn may not be for them, but for those who have their hearts open to it, you're in store for some of the most rewarding experiences in your life! My cousin, who has since passed, struggled with being on the spectrum, and I always wished he had an nP kind of community where he could just be himself and learn to communicate with peers.
They recently completed renovations in Plano and the new CORE break room keeps the crew focused on their classes and not spending too much time on break. These are exciting times for nonPareil and I can't wait to see where the new leadership team and new CEO/President, Gary, take this organization!
Review from Guidestar
On October 7, 2017, Nonpareil held a fundraiser to help support those on the autistic spectrum. During this event, the funding for a bus to transport the crew was raised in the form of some $50,000.
I can see how crucial this need is for many of those that attend Nonpareil, especially those that cannot drive. It was framed that the social events would be expanded and that more engagement would result. My question is, what is holding this up? These monies were fully funded over one and a half years ago. I imagine that those who have donated over the years are as equally frustrated as myself. This was pitched as a vital request and yet nothing has been done.
I have been patient with this organization as it is small and chronically understaffed. But this issue make me question whether the senior leadership can collectively do its job. This is no small sum of money generously given to help. What has become of these funds?
More importantly, what happens if the bus never shows up?
Proceeds from that fundraiser request – less than $50,000 – were never adequate to purchase a bus, provide maintenance and insurance for a bus and pay a driver for the bus. All who donated towards that proposed project have been contacted; nearly all have generously agreed to allow their donations to be moved to other, more vital needs. nonPareil has expanded social events considerably since 2017. Carpooling is almost always available to help Crewmembers participate.
The nonpareil institute in Plano has taken a Major Turn for the Worse...
It is very scary to think that it is the same place I enrolled my son, almost 8 years ago. From the very beginning he was super excited to be apart of the nonpareil institute and to get to make video games. As a parent, I thought the nonpareil institute was the place for him to have a successful adult life. He always did exceptionally well in school, but college was turning out to be too challenging to navigate.
Intelligence was not the issue, so I thought the nonpareil institute was the answer.
I was correct for many years.
In early 2018, there was a mandatory parent meeting. At this meeting one of the dads who started nonpareil, who is now the Ceo and President, said there was going to be a “pivot”. He also introduced the new Chief Program Officer. They both spoke of a coming change, but didn’t really say what that change would be. This “pivot” is what was probably the beginning of the end for my son’s time at the nonpareil institute.
He did great for many years learning and working with the past Art Director, past Head Level Designer, and past Programming Technical Director, whom all got forced out of the nonpareil institute, because of this “pivot”. He worked on multiple games and apps under their guidance. This gave him the confidence and the ability to make games, which was his dream. He called them the A-Team because they were like super heroes to him.
The past year has been very difficult for my son at the nonpareil institute.
Without the A-Team, he feels abandoned and constantly overlooked.
He asks for tasks to work on and to be included in projects, which are very similar tasks to those the Head Level Designer and the Programming Technical Director had assigned him previously.
On several occasions my son was told by one of the a game project leaders that they would love his help, as he is very capable in a couple of game making disciplines.
Then, unfortunately the next day the Director of Operations approached and informed him that he wasn’t permitted to work on the project, without providing an an explanation to my son.
So after a month of my son coming home emotionally wounded, I met with the President/Ceo and the Director of Operations.
They told me my son needed to move to a beginners course, which he had already taken years ago successfully. They did not really give my son or myself a choice, so I convinced him to give it a try. At my urging he has been trying the course for months now, but is bored by the lack of being challenged and he feels unwanted by the current staff.
Everyday he begs me to let him quit going to the nonpareil institute.
Sadly, I am at wits end with the nonpareil institute in Plano and I’m about to give him his wish.
My family used to love to tell everyone about the nonpareil institute.
Although, really we should have been telling everyone how much of a blessing the A-Team was for my son. Now they are gone and all of the joy and meaning for my son at the nonpareil institute left with them.
We are sorry you feel nonPareil has not met your expectations. 10 years ago, few companies were willing to hire adults with autism. nonPareil was founded on the idea that these adults could learn video game technology and create games to be marketed by nonPareil. Over time, more companies have been willing to hire adults with autism and/or partner with nonPareil to provide work opportunities. Crewmembers needed a more structured approach to learn workplace readiness skills. The “pivot” was to focus not only on developing adults with autism to work on video games, but also to work outside of nonPareil in technology and other industries. nonPareil has started to partner with companies that can outsource work to adults with autism who are part of the our program. In 2019 nonPareil is adding a vocational track to teach skills with the goal of Google IT certification of Crewmembers in this program. To-date, nonPareil has provided more than 140,000 hours of employment for adults with autism.
I volunteered in the social room of Nonpareil one summer. I have also participated in the fundraiser golf tournament and other Nonpareil events. I became emotionally connected to the beautiful goals and missions of Nonpareil. The purpose of providing gainful employment and a positive experience for adults on the autism spectrum is important and something that I wanted to contribute to in any way that I could. While following the non-profit as well as my observations of the actual day to day operations, I became disillusioned with the supposedly world changing company. Nonpareil publicly speaks encouragingly about the great abilities of adults on the autism spectrum and how they can find success by enrolling in Nonpareil. Nonpareil marketed the company as a place that would teach adults on the autism spectrum to work on projects as programmers, designers, writers, artists, 3D modelers and more. I saw firsthand the amazing abilities of these adults with special needs. I also saw their desire to work, produce, help one another, and broaden their social skills. Unfortunately, instead of these adults being engaged, encouraged, and given opportunities matching their capabilities, Nonpareil, too often, limited these talented young adults on the spectrum by denying their requests for learning new skills and working. In addition, Nonpareil used the social room as a place to keep the lower functioning autistic adults from disturbing the people Nonpareil deemed as more capable and worth investing time in. The social room could have been used as a place to build social skills and confidence in their social interactions, however there was nobody qualified to help with social skills. Instead, the main goal was to facilitate video game playing and avoid any major disturbances. So many more of these adults could contribute so much more if Nonpareil gave them the chance. What I do not understand is that I thought it was Nonpareil's mission to teach, encourage, and employ these adults on the autism spectrum by giving them a future. Unfortunately, Nonpareil is completely failing them. I would love to see the executives at Nonpareil help these talented adults on the autism spectrum and provide the employment that they need and deserve. I am hopeful for this to happen someday, but a change in leadership and operations is necessary.
To-date, nonPareil has provided over 140,000 hours of employment to adults with autism, with nearly 100 adults with autism having worked at nonPareil for some period of time. Thanks to new partnerships with outside corporations, nonPareil is now bringing in technology-related work so that more adults with autism than ever are now employed at nonPareil. nonPareil staff include a psychologist, a licensed professional counselor and several employees with extensive teaching and counseling backgrounds. This professional staff has helped nonPareil build a robust program of non-technical training in workplace readiness, social skills and communication skills to round out the technical program which was the origin of nonPareil. The social room is used not only as a place where Crewmembers can take a break, but also as a place where they can participate in structured social skills learning activities under guidance of professional staff.
The Executives at nonPareil are motivated by money and donations, helping adults on the autism spectrum is not their priority.
While having a close working relationship with the CEO, the CEO often casually said disconcerting remarks, which countered his fidelity to nonPareil and it’s mission statement.
For example, the CEO and I walked past a crew member, who routinely exhibited demeaning and insulting behavior to the other crew members. Several, crew members cried as a result of an interaction with this crew member. Historically, this behavior at nonPareil is not tolerated and can ultimately end in “expulsion”. The CEO proceeded to tell me,”‘this crew member’ has an elderly relative, who is going to eventually give nonPareil a very large donation.”. Intimating that, even though this crew member is problematic, we have to keep him here so we can get the “large donation”.
Also, The CEO once told me, “I bought myself this new sports car and I am going to give my son, who just learned to drive, my previous sports car.” Then following up by saying,
“nonPareil’s Board thought the CEO and The President were doing a good job, so they gave us raises this year.”
This is greatly contrasted by nonPareil’s lack of employment of and equal financial compensation for those who are on the Autism Spectrum. At the time of the CEO’s and President’s raises there were 150 crew members in total. Only 4 were full time employees and about 10 were part time employees.
The CEO and President motivate the crew, by the promise of a “job”. The expectation was, you have to work consistently 15+ hours a week without pay, in order to prove yourself. The length of time it takes to “prove yourself” could be anywhere from next month to its 4 years later and the executives are still promising them that “job”.
Also, the hourly wage is $10, regardless of the Autistic employees tasks. For the many highly skilled crew members, who want to become a full time employee, the CEO and President have told them individually and as a group that they definitely would love to hire them but nonPareil doesn’t have the money to.
All the while the CEO and President expect the crew to put in a full work week, if they want to eventually become a full time employee.
There are several part time employees at nonPareil, who have been consistently working 40+ hour weeks, since 2012.
That means they make $150 a week, working full time job hours. The resulting total yearly income adjusted for nonPareil breaks, would be about $6,900, which would equate to $3.5 per hour for a part time employee, who puts in the expected hours, based on the workload and assigned tasks.
Who is really making the money at a nonprofit for Autistic Adults to find employment?
Since 2013, nonPareil has employed 30 or more adults with autism every year. 2019 employment of adults with autism at nonPareil will be higher than ever. nonPareil has always paid above the minimum wage and has always had a variety of pay rates, depending on the particular job. New partnerships with outside companies are bringing additional work opportunities to adults with autism at nonPareil. In addition, in 2019 nonPareil is adding a vocational track which will give Crewmembers the opportunity to study towards Google IT certification in several technology fields. Founding CEO Dan Selec left nonPareil in 2018. Founding President Gary Moore took on the additional title of CEO after Selec left.
The Past CEO and and the Current President/CEO Co-Founders are extremely manipulative and unabashedly discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
Being privy to closed door conversations, I was told two abhorrent things by the CEO.
1. They tried to rehabilitate an Autistic Transgender woman, but “He” wasn’t willing to let them “mentor him”, so they would not hire “him”. But, the CEO said this Transgender Woman is now a member of a dangerous and powerful community, so we have to be very careful about how we handle homosexuals, because he might catch wind of it.
2. The CEO spoke to me and The Chief Technology Officer, about an openly gay computer programmer on the Autism Spectrum at nonPareil. The CEO said “We cannot make him leave but we can make him want to leave so it is his idea.”
This is 100% the discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.
The Board of nonPareil Institute passed a nondiscrimination policy in 2010. nonPareil adheres to that policy in hiring as well as admittance and support of adults with autism to its program.
Review from Guidestar
They are not who they say they are. They literally put garbage into crew members (the ones on the spectrum) and just walk away. They treat them as if they don’t have a brain and the management is so poor. nP could have been something, something big, but they are doing everything wrong. They underpay all the staff, spectrum and neurotypical, and hide it in between the lines in the books. There is also a huge discrimination issue at nP. They underestimate the crew and they treat them like toddlers. nP corporate staff do not treat the crew like equals.
More than 2/3’s of the adults with autism who have left nonPareil after 3 or more years either found employment or were able to further their higher education. To-date, nearly 100 adults with autism have been employed by nonPareil. For many, this was their first job. Others have gotten the vocational and social skills experience they needed in order to find jobs in the community, move into an apartment for the first time, get a driver’s license and reach other milestones of independent adult life.
The nonPareil Institute does an amazing job of creating an empathetic, growth-focused environment where individual differences and strengths are celebrated and built upon.
Such an incredible non profit that provides such a unique experience to adults with ASD. It is so clear that everyone involved is dedicated and truly loves what they do.
My son has attended nonPareil for almost five years. In that time his skills as a digital artist have increased significantly, but even more importantly, his soft-skills and ability to work with other Crew members, Staff members, and everyone that he comes in contact with has seen a dramatic and positive increase. He has gained an increased sense of responsibility and self-worth. He works and trains with amazing Staff and has built a circle of friends with similar interests.
Our son loves coming to "work" at nonPareil Institute. He gets up early everyday and even showers! He has found his place!
My son started at nonPareil Institute in October 2010 and has since found his "place!" We tried other technical ventures for him, but he is very withdrawn and doesn't talk to others. But around the gentle instructors at the institute, he has come out of his shell and is thriving! He even has friends!!
Our son has found such a great community of friends and feels very accepted.
My adult son has Asperger's Syndrome and enjoys working in an environment that is accepting and flexible to his needs. I have great gratitude for nPI.
My son who is on the Autism Spectrum has been a Crew Member at nonPareil since February 2014. non Pareil has done wonders for my son, he has opened up, taken more responsibility for his daily life and handling situations presented to him. Not to mention the computer, writing and life skills training he is receiving. The crew and staff at nonPareil are top notch in their daily dealings with the Crew Members!
My son is not only learning skills to help him obtain employment, he is learning life skills. He has gained confidence in himself. He has participated in career building exercises, social events, and social skills building. When we didn't know where to go for him, we found nonPareil, and it has been a very good fit for him. They understand adults on the autism spectrum and accept him for who he is. The computer skills he is learning will help him get a full time job that can use his potential.
Our family has years of experience with nonPareil. It is a wonderful organization that assists people on the autism spectrum develop technical skills. But beyond that the environment allows friendships that are the real treasure.
nonPareil Institute is a dream come true to families dealing with autism. It offers training, friendship, comfort, and a new outlook on life for young adults on the autism spectrum. I have seen it with my son and so many others. They learn a new skill because it is presented in a manner that they understand.
nonPareil has changed my son's life. I am SO grateful for the caring staff and volunteers. He now has friends, feels involved in the community and has a place that feels like 'home'. Keep growing and positively changing lives of more people with autism, nonPareil!
nonPareil has changed my son's life for the better. So exciting to see how adults with autism can bloom when given opportunities for success!
I have been volunteering on the nonPareil Institute Austin expansion team to help bring nP to Austin. The need for job skill training for adults with autism in Austin and in many cities around the US is huge! Our adults with autism are aging out of school and need meaningful training directed towards their strengths to help them become successful in all areas of their lives. NonPareil provides both technical training and life skill based training that is meaningful and productive while accommodating their unique needs.
A place to belong. A place like no other. Where my son and others can use thier gifts towards a great purposeful life. No longer isolated or put into jobs based on your challenges rather than the skills that come so easily for you. There is much to learn and practice. If at first you accommodate the autism the individuality and the talents thrive and the world opens to a new adventure.
My son has been attending NonPareil for almost a year and absolutely loves it! The staff and administrators are nothing short of amazing! You can see they have a genuine love and concern for the Crew. I have been quite impressed with all the knowledge my son has learned and he enjoys telling me all about his work (most of it goes over my head). So blessed to be apart of NonPareil.
My son has recently been accepted at nonPareil-Houston, and we are anxious for him to begin this amazing new journey in his life where he will now be able to have a promising future. After spending a couple of hours with their compassionate and understanding staff, meeting Crew members who are being taught career and social skills, and touring the facility, we knew God had answered our prayers. If other companies recognized and valued the potential that people with ASD can bring to their organizations as nonPareil does, so many others would be able to realize their potential. Knowing that my son will spend his days learning in a place where people care about each other, understand that it is OK to be different, dreams are fulfilled, and your individual talents are recognized and valued, is so much more that we could have ever believed possible.
nonPareil is an amazing organization with truly caring people. Our son has been at the Houston location since it opened. We have seen tremendous growth in him in his time there. Besides the technical curriculum they also have classes on the "soft skills" the crew members need in the real world. Feel truly blessed to be involved with this wonderful organization.
My son has been at nonPariel for about 1 1/2 years. In that time, he has gone from spending most of his time playing video games to becoming involved with creating video games. He has gotten more than just video building skills, he has friends now for the first time in his life at the age of 27. He was hopeless and depressed before nonPariel. Now he sees a future and is learning more about himself and his abilities. Before nonPariel, I was told he was lazy and unmotivated. He now gets himself ready and to nonPariel for his classes on his own. He is developing skills he never would have been able to do without the guidance and understanding of the staff at nonPariel. They understand my son and how autism effects each student.
I have not, in my son's life, seen him so happy and welcomed. The staff at nonPariel are dedicated and focused on giving these very talented but misunderstood young men and women a family and a future.
My son is blossoming here! I don't know where we would be if not for nonPareil. This organization is in a class by itself. My wish would be for each autistic to experience nonPariel and the growth that comes with these caring folks.
They have provided technical skills, social skills and how to handle the work place environment. My son has decided to go with the artistic side to video game building, and has grown his blossoming talent. Others can go into coding, so the program is individualized.
NonPariel has been a life saver and future giver to my son and our family.
Non Pareil Houston is doing an awesome job with adults on the autism spectrum. They provide a safe place where these amazing individuals can receive training for computer related jobs.
Can't say enough good things about NonPareil Institute - an organization that truly understands the needs and requirements of young adults with autism spectrum disorders. They have taught my son valuable work, social and life skills that will enable him to become a productive and independent member of society. Because of NonPareil's unique and enriching environment, my son's confidence has soared and he feels proud of his achievements there and the daily contributions he is able to make to the nP community.