Chris Schild’s job at Walgreens is just one part of his very full life. Chris, who is 25 now, was diagnosed with autism when he was about 8 years old. He has worked three days a week at Walgreens for more than a year.
“He loves it there and they love him,” said his mother, Nancy Schild. “It’s been a good experience. He loves going to work.”
At Walgreens, Chris is in charge of stocking the medical equipment, including walkers and canes. He also does “outdates” of medicines and candy – he explains that those are items that are past their expiration dates and must be removed from the shelf.
Chris is proud of his work, but he would rather tell you about his coin collection – he has currency from 99 countries – or his photography hobby. He most enjoys photographing birds and wildlife, and in fact volunteers his talent, taking pictures for the Museum of Natural Sciences’ Prairie Ridge Ecostation in Raleigh.
His mother says Chris’ knowledge of birds is unbelievable. “If a bird lands on the porch, he can tell you what kind it is and if it’s male or female,” she said. Chris attributes his knowledge to his seven books about birds.
“If it interests him, he will learn everything there is about it,” Nancy said. “Christopher is a walking encyclopedia.”
Chris lives in an independent living facility in the Triangle with other adults with disabilities. He is supported throughout the day by ASNC Autism Support Professionals. He hopes to move into a place of his own someday, but he does not drive, so the limited public transportation in the area is a barrier.
In the meantime, Chris will continue with his very busy schedule. In addition to taking photographs and collecting coins, he makes walking sticks that he sells through word of mouth. He starts with branches of oak, pine, cedar, and black birch, and takes off the bark, sands them, and shines them. “It takes a lot of hard practice,” Chris said. “I made my first one in Boy Scouts when I was 16. That’s what got me started.”
Chris also excels in Special Olympics in bocce, basketball, and bowling and has the medals to prove it. He and his uncle competed in the bowling nationals in El Paso, Texas, and took home silver and gold. Chris loves bowling so much that he also is in a league with his father and uncle and recreationally with friends.
“His schedule is unbelievable,” said his mother.
Chris wouldn’t have it any other way.Tags: ASNC, autism, autism acceptance, autism society north carolina, autism society of NC, Autism Society of North Carolina, Autism spectrum, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, autism support, supported employment