NewsLocal News


Obsessions Gift Shop helping those with autism

Posted at 12:44 AM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 00:44:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Nijah Proctor is working at her mom's store Obsessions Gift Shop in the Railroad Square Art District. Nijah is also on the autism spectrum.

"When I was much younger, I wouldn't talk to other people," said Nijah.

Now, after working for Obsessions, Nijah has learned how to interract with customers and others on the spectrum.'

Betty Proctor says the improvements she's seen through her daughter are why she started her non-profit Moving People through Arts and Crafts.

The goal is to fund workshops that help people on the spectrum express themselves through creativity.

"You can be creative as you want to be and be able to express themselves without having those communication skills," said Proctor.

As of 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Florida ranks fourth in the country for people with Autism with over 300,000.

Rachelle Chamberlin is the director of the Tallahassee Speech Support Group that helps families with children with Autism find resources in the state. She says although it's hard to get an exact number of cases in Leon County, it's not a small number.

"I would say definitely in the thousands yes," said Chamberlin. "As far as children? In the hundreds. But of course you can't put an exact number on it."

In order to help those in Leon County Proctor is hiring kids like her daughter to teach them leadership and business skills.

"I think that other persons can benefit from what we're doing from the entrepreneurship, from the groups and the employability skills," said Proctor.