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Karra's independence

Karra Fisher, 25, has worked at a local restaurant for more than seven years. “I got the job with help from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and Living Unlimited, Inc. She is a participant in the Adult Autism Waiver.

“I work the cold bar and the bakery,” she says. “(We’re) one big, happy family…drive each other crazy, but it’s fun.” Karra is often called to cover other shifts and is happy to help. Her dedication has resulted in her new independence: She recently moved into her own apartment and is saving for a car.

“Right now, I have to get a ride from a co-worker or ride my bike in nice weather,” she says. She dreams of having a motorcycle license someday, and “drive a Spyder bike or maybe even a Tron Legacy.”

Karra says others should not make assumptions about individuals with autism. “Don’t judge a book by the cover. There’s more that we can do than what people think. You’ll be surprised to find a hidden gem in front of your eyes.”

She has other goals, too. Eventually, she hopes to attend culinary school and own an Etsy account to sell the items she enjoys making, like bath bombs and garden decorations.

Because she is willing to accept help from providers, independence is achievable for Karra.

She encourages others. “Let other people give you a helping hand,” she says. “No matter how bleak the circumstances, take the opportunity because it can lead to a better life.”