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nonPareil Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Health, Human Services, Job Training, Vocational Rehabilitation

Mission: nonPareil Institute is dedicated to building better futures for adults with autism.

Results: Since opening our doors in 2010, more than 400 adults with autism have received training at nonPareil Institute. We use their natural enthusiasm for technology as a platform for developing vocational and social skills for increased independence. nonPareil trains adults with autism to build technology products for the marketplace through courses in design, digital art, 3D modeling and coding. These adults, known as “Crew,” are guided by professional technology instructors from the video game and other industries. Crew experience how to develop and launch interactive technology such as applications and games in a professional environment where they hone their independence and teamwork abilities. Crew also develop invaluable life skills that not only complement their success within their individual technical skills training, but also improve overall sociability and adaptability with the world outside nonPareil.

Target demographics: adults with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 240 adults with autism!

Geographic areas served: the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston markets; expanding to more cities soon!

Programs: technical, vocational and social skills training in order to help them lead fulfilled lives

Community Stories

131 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since finding out about nPI about a year ago, my Son has found acceptance in a workplace setting that truly encourages his uniqueness and God given talents. Thank you, thank you for unconditionally loving these young adults and inspiring them to greatness!!! nPI values my Son as much as I do -- who could ask for more? How blessed we are to have found nPI.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

What will my child do when I'm gone? How will he support himself? These questions were answered at nPI. My son has been given the gift of respect, a chance to be himself. He is being taught the skills that will enable him to have hope for a future of independence. His gifts and talents are welcomed and he is accepted at nPI. The staff members are friendly, kind and truly understand my son because he is a lot like their own. We feel blessed to have found nPI. What more could a parent ask?

Janet57

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Christian, attends this institute. We visited in Nov. 2012, then he was accepted in Feb. 2013. We are 100% committed to this group, as they are providing trainig for autistic individuals. Founded by men who have sons affected by ASD, training is hands on/computer generated. Need more like this, and they are looking to expand, so support them with funds so we can reach more people. The need is growing exponentially!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a special educator that also has a son with Asperger's, age 20. We attended the Open House in Plano, Texas and are in the process of enrolling in nonPareil/Spring 2013. I have been searching for a program that will provide training in the type of setting that will allow true learning (translate "hands-on"), versus "book learning" (written tests, chapter reading, etc.). The former will result in a person that can actually do something/hold a job, versus a piece of paper that indicates someone has completed courses, but still not able to actually perform work of any kind. This program is SO NEEDED, and will only become moreso as we see the number of Autism incidence change from 1 in 150 individuals, to present numbers of 1 in 88. Stay tuned for the next revision; if you don't know someone now with an Autistic child, you will soon.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are now in the second year of our daughter's association with nonPareil Institute, where she is a student and also a part time employee. In that first year, we were filled with gratitude as she quickly melded into a greater whole of individuals "on the Autism spectrum". As I volunteered I observed a culture in which new individuals could literally walk into the Social Room, observe a video game being played for a few minutes, and relax, cross-legged in the floor to exchange knowing observations about the game maker's strength's and weaknesses. Repeatedly, daily, I was able to observe persons who probably were, in other environments, ostracized for their peculiar attention to detail and focus on a single subject. These individuals needed to be able to express their opinions on those important subjects, and their peers listened, every one of them, as they enthusiastically discussed the minutia that supported their theories and beliefs. They could take whatever time was needed to let the speaker converse, and then give pertinent answers. Less self-assured individuals I observed felt comfortable enough to express frustrations with operating various games, and a few of their peers would flank them, making encouraging remarks, offering personal experiences, and assuring support. I volunteer random days, see different individuals, but this is the common experience at nonPareil within the "down time" of the Social Room.
As I have spoken to and become familiar with students at nP, I have learned how life-changing it was for most of them. Literally lives have changed from despair to hope and confidence. Emphasis by the carefully attentive staff not only on the worth of individuals, but also on the value of the collective whole of individuals attending and/or working at nP keeps focus on the motto, "All for one and one for all!" No one is expected to make it alone, and no one is left to his or her own devices.
So, it is like watching ducks getting into water. They belong. It was made for them.....

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

After high school, our daughter who is affected by Asperger's on the Autism Spectrum, had an almost free fall with respect to schooling and employment. Although we sought help from the State employment agency, overall she was set up with a series of jobs far beneath her capabilities, and inappropriate for her bright mind. Finally we were fortunate enough to find nonPareil Institute. Since her enrollment in the training program, our daughter has learned to use Hammer software to build maps for computer game and apps, and expects to go on for further training in various aspects of video game and computer application construction. The environment is a near perfect lab for adults affected by ASD including personal training, Kabals with the production team, and social opportunities that foster respectful interaction with others on the ASD spectrum as well as with Neurotypical individuals. Instructors may include graduates of the program who are on the ASD spectrum, and computer software engineers from the SMU graduate program or from industry backgrounds. Our experience at nonPareil exceeds our hopes and expectations. We are committed to ensuring our daughter and others on the ASD spectrum are able to train and work there..

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My child struggled through school. He preferred to stay home. He did okay in school. He did not have many friends. He struggled with social interaction. Not much time for gossip or petty behavior. He loved lego's, k-nex, computer games and more computer games. College was more of a struggle. The freedom that so many of us enjoy, caused him great pain. A pretty girl, a confusing statement, unclear instructions, or anything that required more effort seemed to make my son withdraw and become very frustrated.
As a child he cleared his throat, he made bubble sounds when eating, he moaned when he got really mad and would not talk. As he got older he began to make hand gestures. The doctor wanted to slow his heart rate down. I refused.
Five years in college 3.8 gpa.....no degree....just so unhappy. Getting a job was impossible. It would take me 3 weeks to convince him he had to get a job. By the time he got the nerve to apply the job would be gone. He finally got a job at a car dealership in IT. The guy asked him if he had Aspergers up front. My son was so happy someone knew. Job went great the first 2 weeks. He was fixing computers, things that most of us don't know how to fix. Then suddenly he was told he had to work in the accountants office. He got immediate anxiety. Hephysically could not go in the door. His fear was so real. He quit and went home. He wanted to die....He came and told me life wasn't worth living!

I started looking on line for colleges for asperger's. I found schools that cost $50k to teach social skills in Florida. Then I found Non-pareil. I emailed a few questions, and this compassionate person called me back. I looked up their site, and their dream for the future. A city for asperger's where everyone can thrive and live. It seemed awesome.

I immediately booked a plane from Columbia, SC to Plano, Texas. We went. My son was hesitant at first, never being away from me much. We were showed around the school. My son saw other people like him, but all different. Another new student was introduced to him and they began to talk about Japanese art, and anemae(????) WAIT A MINUTE...MY SON IN TALKING TO SOMEONE???? A STRANGER??? HE IS SITTING ON FLOOR NOW HAVING A FLUID CONVERSATION WITHOUT FEAR? THIS WENT ON FOR OVER AN HOUR. I CRIED....first time I had ever seen him comfortably engaged with a stranger.
He looked at me and said, Mom I want to come here. You don't have to come. I can do it.

This November will be 2 years for him. My mom could not believe I would move him half way across the United States. I told her if this place was in Alaska, I would be buying him Eskimo boots.

Non-pareil has changed everyone's life from the parents to the adult. For the first time these gifted people feel productive, accepted and worth while. Asperger's people are honest, hard workers, dedicated to their tasks and glad to keep their minds challenged. They do not gossip and get lost in mainstream complaining. Great workers.

2 Aaron24

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an adult with Aspergers I am truly thankful to Dan Selec, Gary Moore, and the nonpareil Institute for accepting me 3 years ago to their wonderful program. I have benefited immeasurable amounts from the caring workplace and skills developed as a crew member. I Have become a viable programmer and have my Code in Market games such as Space Ape! (Space Ape is available for iPhone, google play, ziosk, and on the OUYA)
nonPareil has given me a purpose, helped me forged new friendships, and has enabled to have a career that I am truly passionate about!
All I know is the last 3 years would have been a bummer of ride without the nonpareil institute.
Thank G-d for the last 3 years and for my bright future with nonpareil!

p.s.

if you haven't downloaded Space Ape please download and show your support.

1 Meg Roberts

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When you have the opportunity to meet the founders of nPi,Gary W. Moore and Dan Selec, you meet men with vision, heart and true bravery. These men have built nPi to transform the life of an individual with a difference- autism, into a confident, competent, self-sustaining SUPER HERO for themselves and for their families. nPi will change the way the world views autism. You can see the success in the eyes of the gracious students and their parents and the hugs that are so readily shared by all. To help nPi be able to serve more students via more campuses, summer programs, camps, more equipment, more visibility is not only a noble thing, but a required step for us all. nPi is Programming Hope, Healing Lives, Lifting Spirits and making a difference in the world of autism...and in the world in general. Their belief and dedication to purpose inspires my soul and I am blessed to be part of their community.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

To offer hope to someone who has no future in a traditional educational setting because autism keeps him from functioning in a way that most people have difficulty dealing with has been nonPareil's greatest gift to my son. To offer practical skills in an area that my son loves in a setting that welcomes him is priceless.

Until we found nonPareil, I had doubts that there was any place for my son in this world beyond our home. But from our first visit to nonPareil, we knew Ash had found his other home. He fit in (which he never has anywhere), he felt productive (instead of frustrated and useless like he did in high school). Instead of the kick in the teeth he has been used to all his life, nonPareil is an embrace. It offers him skills that could not get in any "normal" setting. It offers him the chance to work as a team on projects that he is enthusiastic about. It offers him hope that he can have a productive life, that he IS a useful human being, that he is valued.

Will nonPareil create the next Angry Birds? Who knows. I hope so. They created Space Apes, one of my favorite games. I'd love to see their games take off in a big way so that they can expand and provide the same opportunities to legions of autisitic young adults.

3 Tyler F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I spent 3 years in depression after I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. While I now (4 years later) take pride in being autistic, it was very crushing to me at the time. I normally have a very strong immune system, but the depression weakened it enough for me to contract mononucleosis (mono), which then turned into chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). I was pretty much bedridden for those 3 years.

Even now, at 23, I still suffer from CFS. I sleep more than I'm awake, and I'm constantly told by my peers and father that I don't "pull my own weight". For the first time, I finally have a job, but it's 3 hours a week and my peers still don't count it. I feel like I truly have a valid reason to feel worthless.
If it weren't for my new friends and co-workers at nonPareil Institute, I don't know where I'd be. NonPareil Institute is non-profit corporation that trains adults with autism in game development. All the training is one-on-one, there are no tests, no grades, and no deadlines. I'm judged against myself, and not anyone else. It's amazing and so freeing. I now have the strength to brush off the negative comments from my neuro-typical peers.

Sure, I have a long way to go. But now I have a path to get there. :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

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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Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Darlene9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Advisor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Jeanne18

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is a tremendous help to my son and others with Autism. It teaches people on the autism spectrum how to work in real jobs and gives them a great sense of accomplishment.

rajczi

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A truly amazing group of people passionate about making a better world for an under serviced group of adults.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1 Scott58

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing is an understatement. My son Neal has flourished in this program. He began as a student and continues to learn but has progressed to teaching others as a paid position. The program simply works, it take the strengths of these young indivials and allows them show the world what the can do. It builds character and confidence.
This is only the beginning for this team as there is far more demand than they can currently serve. We are so lucky to live close enough to take advantage of what this program offers and I support the growth strategy and vision that Dan and Gary have as there are so many that need this program yet cannot take advantage until the program expands its reach.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The nonPariel Institute in Plano, Texas is the only place like it in the whole world that works to train adults with autism how to develop their video game programing skills. I sought out this tremendous program 3 years prior to my son becoming a Crew member. This program has changed his life in many ways. He is so proud to have the opprotunuity to follow his lifelong passion for video games and learn to be a developer. The people that founded nonPariel and their staff have nothing but care and compassion for these Crew member's development. You can't help but smile when you are there. The nonPariel motto " Amor vincit Omnia. Auxillio ab alto" "Love conques all. With help from on high." is truly present. My son looks forward to a future of success and lifelong friendships and one day a place to call home. We are truly blessed by nonPariel, it is not a place it is a family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm so thankful that nonPareil is available to help our son develop skills he is interested in and possibly provide a position for him later on. He gets exactly the kind of training he needs and the staff gives him the personal attention he requires. This is an answer to prayer.