This 15-Year-Old with Autism is in Charge of Her Own Soap Company
It's been a long road for Katie and Albert Miniel. Their daughter Sophia has dealt with seizures and autism since she was a baby.
And as Katie puts it, "Going into teenage years has been very rocky."
Violent outbursts and escalating behavioral issues led them to being homeschooling her in 2015. Then in 2017, the family's brand-new home in Alvin, Texas, was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Fortunately, The Arc of the Gulf Coast, a non-profit organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, stepped in. They helped the Miniels settle into a new home, referred Sophia to a specialist who put her new medication, and eventually, got her back into school.
"Don't ever lose hope and faith because there is always change," mom Katie tells Southern Living. "And change brings new light."
In 2018 Sophia had an idea: she wanted to make her own soap. She loves coffee, so her parents helped her make a scrub, which would later turn into their Texas Made Coffee Scrub.
"It was an eye opener!" Katie says of their first soap-making experience. "From there, my husband and I thought it would be a great idea to take it further and teach Sophia so that this can be her own business. Something to think about that we can do with her for her future."
Within a couple of months Sophia's soap samples were in the break room at school and the local flower shop. They advertised on social media, and Texas Made Soap was born. Soon they were getting orders in left and right.
"It was so great to see her using all her skills she had been learning so she can exceed beyond what everyone thought!" Katie says.
And Sophie is smiling again.
But don't let her smile fool you. Sophie and her family take this very seriously. "We care about the ingredients we use to make the soap," Katie explains, adding that they only make small batches to ensure the quality before quantity. They also handpick every essential oil and fragrance.
"It's always tested and reviewed before it's available for purchase," she notes. "Trust me, it won't get past Sophia if it's not good!"
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"By supporting this small business it's giving the opportunity for a young lady to build her executive functioning skills, life skills and most importantly her fine motor skills," Katie says.
Go Sophie, go!