Helping adults on the autism spectrum explore their talents, passions, and ideas.

Think of it as Shark Tank meets Think Tank.

The Reactor Room was created to improve the possibilities for adults on the autism spectrum to succeed using their talents, passions, and ideas. We bring in a panel of entrepreneurs, business leaders, community connectors, and special matter experts to provide our participants, called “Ignitors”, new life-changing opportunities. The Reactor Room may lead to internships, projects to build portfolios, a business launch, or even employment.

Why the Reactor Room is Needed

Adults on the autism spectrum are as unique and individual as we all are. Yes, there are characteristics that have led to a diagnosis of autism, but there are still many stereotypes that are perpetuated about what autistic adults ‘looks like’ and what types of ways they can participate in society. 

Mike Sheiman introducing his “Thrill Chair” in the Reactor Room

The predominant stereotype is that individuals on the spectrum are tech-savvy and excel in math and sciences. Although we have some individuals who ‘fit’ this stereotype, there are many others who are not oriented towards the sciences, but rather are creative and enjoy drawing, music, theater, and dance. While others have not found their niche and are wondering why they don’t seem to have a ‘special’ talent. Because of this it can be difficult for autistic adults to find jobs.

Often, these individuals struggle with social anxiety and they may have low self-confidence and low-self esteem after trying to ‘fit-in’ to traditional approaches that have not worked for them. Inclusion and helping autistic adults find fulfilling careers is a driving force behind the Reactor Room.

Individuals on the spectrum deserve a chance to contribute to society in a way that suits their personal and particular styles and meets their needs, but this requires a team of creative and innovative professionals to bring strategic approaches to this unique population; including breaking through traditional barriers to develop new opportunities for these adults.

In The Reactor Room, we are smashing stereotypes and breaking down barriers of adults on the autism spectrum in Houston, Texas.

Dr Heidi Stieglitz Ham

Creating Life-Changing Opportunities

Through The Power of Innovation and Collaboration

How the Reactor Room Works

The Discovery Phase

The first step in the process for the Reactor Room Program candidates is to engage in individualized one-on-one sessions designed to explore the individual’s strengths, skills, and interests. These sessions are both structured and unstructured and are meant to allow participants to feel comfortable so they can share their aspirations. Once a sufficient profile has been developed, we work together to refine the goals that we will bring to the team in the Reactor Room Activation Event.

These individuals may require unique strategies to sort through the complexities of adult life, and explore pathways to achieve meaningful progress in their lives.

Reactor Room Activation Teams

Several Activators from the April 2022 Reactor Room; from left to right: Tushar Sharma, Paul Fellows, Benson Igla Saulo, and Jamey Rootes

Life-changing ideas are the result of brainstorming and collaboration powered by teams of bold and innovative individuals from a variety of fields. We bring the best that Houston has to offer, for the brightest future for adults on the autism spectrum. We call these people, “Activators.”

The Activation Teams are comprised of entrepreneurs, business leaders, community connectors, and individuals knowledgeable about the Reactor’s specialized area of interest. Together, they generate ideas and connections that are then incorporated into an Activation Plan that the Reactors will follow over the course of their participation in the program. Outcomes of The Reactor Room Activation may include shadowing opportunities, internships, the launch of a business, product design, or job employment.

Pathways to Progress

Positive outcomes of the Reactor Room include experiences for these individuals to gain exposure in their areas of interests or strengths by shadowing a professional in their desired career, access to business and marketing experts for product development, career opportunities and scaffolding for business proposals, and volunteer experiences.

Make a Difference in the Lives of Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Through the Reactor Room, we reach out to everyday people, employers and organizations across Houston to provide ways for adults on the spectrum to connect to the community. We call this an “Activator”. Together, we are generating brilliant ideas for life-changing possibilities.

Sometimes people without autism might not know what they can do to make a difference in the lives of people with autism. The first step is to have an open mind and heart, and be ready for your world to change. We are as excited as you are to meet our members.

Join Us

At the next Reactor Room

Reactor Room Location

Rice University BRC Auditorium
6566 Main St, Houston, TX 77030

The purpose of the Reactor Room is to improve the possibilities for adults with autism, and their families, by generating novel solutions for adults on the autism spectrum who may be ’stuck‘ in their current situations and unable to use their skills, interests, or strengths to their full potential. Join us in smashing stereotypes of adults on the autism spectrum.

Reactor Room Showcase Platforms

These are the Showcase Platforms of some of our reactors:

Sign up for a Role in the Reactor Room