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Minding his own beeswax

Ray Wong with his new candle-making equipment.  - Photo by Aleister Gwynne
Ray Wong with his new candle-making equipment.
— image credit: Photo by Aleister Gwynne

Raymond Wong has found his dream job.

That’s hard enough for anyone, so it’s all the more remarkable because the 24-year-old has autism.

Wong, with some help from his family and local social workers, has been able to turn what started as a simple hobby into a career. He began by making individual beeswax candles using only a stovetop kit and he  enjoyed it immensely. Autism is a mental condition characterized by difficulty with social interaction and compulsive behavior, so it is very hard for an autistic person to find and hold a job at all, let alone one they actually like, said Wong’s community support worker, Scott Plummer.

“The difficult thing with autistic people is engaging them, if you can’t interest them, it’s not gonna fly,” he said.

Since the purchase of a $1,500 wax dispensing system, Wong has been able to mass produce his candles, and is now looking to sell them. His candles are being displayed at North Island College and the Lil’ Amigos nursery in Port Hardy. His candles will also be displayed at the Port McNiell Fair Dec. 7.

“At the moment these are the only places, but obviously we’re looking for more opportunities,” said Plummer.

By Aleister Gwynne/Black Press

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