Ryan Litchfield, of Rutland, is a 28-year-old young man with autism spectrum disorder. Ryan at the age of two was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder NOS as he could not talk, verbalize, or gesture. Ryan in his youth went through many intensive hours of ABA, speech, and occupational therapy.
Ryan was also diagnosed with epilepsy and thyroid disease. Ryan, in his junior year at Wachusett Regional High School, went to speak to about his autism journey at Glenwood Elementary School. Ryan graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in 2013 and went on to Assumption University in which he graduated with a Bachelors’ in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies and a Certificate in Aging Services in 2017. Ryan has worked for several human service agencies such as Behavioral Concepts Inc., Aging Services of North Central Massachusetts (originally Montachusett Home Care), Elder Services of Worcester, Family Services of Central Massachusetts, Open Sky Community Services, and the Center for Living & Working. Ryan brings years of experience through administration and direct support in working with older adults and people with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. Ryan has been featured on a blog for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and a podcast appearance on Autism Knows No Borders/Global Autism Project which is a podcast series featuring autism self-advocates and people working in the field of autism across the globe. Ryan is currently working at the Center for Living & Working, Inc. as a Youth Services Skills Trainer Presenter designing and implementing a unique workshop series on Independent Living and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ryan’s goal is to implement a peer support program to support other individuals on the autism spectrum by having other individuals on the autism spectrum share their lived experiences to help others to allow for employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum as well as establish networks in the Commonwealth, across the nation, and potentially across the globe. Ryan is also continuing to advocate as well as participate in public speaking related to autism acceptance in collaborating with the Doug Flutie Foundation.