cookies by autistic kid in Chicago
This Chicago dad created a cookie line inspired by his son who has autism

Meet Alvin Green, the owner of Al’s Cookie Mixx – a cookie business that opened last fall.  What sets Al’s Cookie Mixx apart from others is that it is run from a shared kitchen and employs individuals with disabilities from the local community. This mission hits close to home for Green, as his 20-year-old son Aiden has autism.

As a parent of a special needs child, Green understands & knows firsthand the challenges involved in finding job opportunities for Adults with Autism. He vowed to make a difference by creating a workplace environment that is not only inclusive but also empowers individuals with disabilities.

What motivated Alvin?

Following a successful 15-year career as a caterer, Green heeded the wise counsel of his wife, who suggested that he merge his passion for baking cookies with his love for Aiden and his friends. He began developing Al’s Cookie Mixx – an online gourmet customizable cookie company that allows customers to handpick their choice of a vanilla, chocolate, or oatmeal base and select from an array of mix-ins. The motto? “You choose, we create, we deliver.”

Evidently, word about Green’s innovative venture quickly spread throughout the neighborhood, as he received several messages from parents in Beverly expressing their interest in his delectable cookies that could be enjoyed from the comfort of their own homes. 

Most advocates Contend

Alvin’s generosity to support special needs children and their families was undeniable, as he promised to provide a variety of accommodations for those with sensory disorders, speech impairments, and mobility limitations.  Most advocates contend that small businesses, such as Green’s, are resourceful as there is a lack of a dependable system in assisting individuals with special needs to obtain and sustain employment. Holly Wiese, from the Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment & Services Center at Rush University Medical Center, also acknowledged the rise of grassroots initiatives from families and communities.

Wiese also adds that the struggle of moving away from school-provided assistance is undeniable. She pointed out that most individuals are left on a precipice and often lack sufficient aid.

Citing a report by the National Autism Indicators Project (NAIP), she stated that over two-thirds of young people with autism were not able to transfer into either employment or education within the first two years of completing high school.  Which is why it is critical for organizations and businesses to create employment opportunities for special needs children, such as Aiden.

Support for the larger community

Green believes that his bakery not only serves as a way for Aiden to gain valuable business experience but also provides support for the larger community by creating job opportunities. As Green’s bakery continues to grow, he hopes t be able to employ more young adults with autism, like Aiden and Jasmine.

Their slogan, ‘Your enjoyment provides employment.’

Understanding & inclusive society

Through advocacy and grassroots initiatives like Green’s bakery, we can create a more understanding & inclusive society for individuals with special needs. We at Illinois Autism Center also recognize the importance of  support, empowerment, and advocate for Autistic children and families.

Our goal is to provide quality treatment and support services that promote independence, inclusion, and quality for those on the spectrum.