Stella Spanakos was looking for a place where her autistic son, Nicholas, could learn life and vocational skills after he completed high school. She became distraught over the limited choices.
Spanakos called a friend who also has a son with autism, as well as Nicholas’ former camp counselor. The trio launched Spectrum Designs out of Spanakos’ garage. Nine years later, the Port Washington, N.Y.-based company has 40 workers, with a little more than half of them on the autism spectrum, including Nicholas and co-founder Nicole Sugrue’s son, Adam.