As a parent of an adult child on the autism spectrum, Ami Taubenfeld became frustrated with the lack of support available for her daughter. Instead of waiting for someone to find a solution, she took matters into her own hands. In just seven years, Itineris, Inc. has become the only program in Baltimore that provides intensive wrap-around support services, including employment assistance, for adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Through her leadership and vision, the agency has grown from one client in November 2010 to 90 clients today.
“When founding Itineris, our vision was to create a model program to fill a tremendous void in services for adults with autism,” said Taubenfeld. “I am a strong believer in providing a positive environment and culture that supports out-of-the-box thinking to problems that often require innovative solutions.”
It is that out-of-the-box thinking that earned her agency national attention. Using data-driven results and best practices, the agency has developed an innovative model that has set a new standard for adult autism services.
“To her mind, conventional programs focused excessively on the supply of jobs these agencies were used to offering. Ami had the boldness to turn this on its head, asking: ‘what if we focused on the demands of our clients? What if we recognized that every person has unique talents, specific likes and dislikes, and dreams for the future?’ ” said Peter Kirchgraber, president of the Itineris board. “This is the heart of Ami’s vision: that every person should have the dignity of choice and self-determination, to find meaningful work and to be full stakeholders in the shared life of their community.”
This is a winner profile from The Daily Record’s 2018 Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs awards. Some information for this profile was sourced from the honoree’s application for the award.