Teaching autistic students how to look your best

Posted at 3:32 PM, Apr 22, 2016

PALM BEACH, Fla. – Your face, it’s the first thing people see when they meet you. For two students at the Palm Beach School for Autism, today was all about their face.

“The people see me and say I’m pretty today,” explained Arian Rivera, a student at the school. She and classmate Cara Fortinkski spent the morning at Saks Fifth Avenue on Palm Beach. “Makeup. Eyes, lips,” said Fortinkski.

Both girls were treated to a makeover at Saks Fifth Avenue by celebrity makeup artist Matrice Huff. An hour of pampering, while learning how to look their best for a job interview.

“Having your makeup done and having a good presentation really helps in getting employment,” said Nicole DeFlorio, Vocational Director at Palm Beach School for Autism.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder, a 30 percent increase from two years ago. Meaning employers will see more job applicants like Ariana and Cara.

"Cara and Ariana are in transition, meaning they're getting prepared to exit high school in the next couple years and go into the workforce," DeFlorio explained.

In school, both Cara and Ariana learn clerical work, food preparation, and sorting and rolling silverware, useful skills in landing a job and after today both girls now know how to put their best face forward.

"Like this," Ariana said as she swirled her hands around her face. "And with my eyebrows like this."

This is Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach's fourth year recognizing Autism Awareness Month. In addition to decorating it's highly coveted window displays in the theme of Autism Awareness, Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach is also donating a percentage of proceeds from purchases of Lafayette 148, Kilian fragrances, NEST candles and Trish McEvoy to the Palm Beach School for Autism and Autism Speaks.