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Redefining Life with Autism

Tyrin Comes Full Circle

When Tyrin was just two-and-a-half years old, he came to United Way of Greater St. Louis-supported Illinois Center for Autism (ICA). At 21, he graduated the program, attended college and landed a job at ICA’s Pasta Fare, an Italian restaurant designed to provide employment opportunities for people with autism within a community job setting. He was the head server and loved it.

Since then, Tyrin shifted his focus from serving food to serving children.

In 2011, Tyrin returned to ICA to be a teacher’s assistant. Now he’s helping other kids on the spectrum. In fact, Tyrin is the only ICA alum to return as a staff member in the agency’s 39-year history.

“The main reason I’ve stayed is because I figure who better to understand these guys than me?” Tyrin says. “My long-term goal is to become a special education teacher.”

When asked how it feels to be back: “I love it,” Tyrin says. “I’ve had a couple kids tell me they want to be a teacher like me when they get older. It’s pretty neat.”

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