Julie's Open Road
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New York, NY
Different Roads To Learning
autism, belonging, children, computer skills, design, fashion, helping others, independence, tools
At age 6, Julie Azuma began drawing clothing and dresses for women. In the years passing while growing up, Julie thought she wanted to be a women's clothing designer. But as time went on, she decided that making clothes wasn't the right path for her. What changed her mind was in 1988 when Julie adopted a little girl from Seoul, Korea. Over the next several years, Julie noticed her daughter missing development milestones, and it wasn't until her daughter was 6 years old that she discovered she had autism, a neurological disorder. Dealing with her daughter's newfound disability, Julie struggled to find the right resources to help her aid her daughter's special needs for development. So Julie sought an opportunity she never thought she would do: start her own business. Although scared, Julie took a risk and started her own company selling autism-focused products such as books, flashcards, and other tools to help parents with autistic children. In 1995, Julie started Different Roads to Learning, an online store that offered 30 applied behavior analysis products. Today, Julie's company offers more than 450 items carefully selected to support the autism community.