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Ovation: Made By Brad.

01/24/2014

FREMMERLID-570A couple of years ago, a road trip brought us past an IKEA store.  Not having one near our hometown, we decided to stop and check it out.  We were amazed by the amusement park-like atmosphere as well as some of the seemingly great deals that were found there.  Being careful to not buy more than we could fit into our car, we bought a dresser, a chest of drawers, several kitchen items and quite a few Christmas gifts.  The boxes that contained our new furniture just barely fit into our car and we anxiously hurried home to assemble our purchases.

Although we had been assured said assembly would be easy, it eventually involved two evenings, one bottle of wine and several Advil tablets.  Apparently intended for a universal audience, the simple instructions contained in the packaging consisted only of pictures and graphs … no actual instructions or explanation.  It was quite frustrating.

For Brad Fremmerlid, building IKEA furniture is no problem at all.  The 25-year-old from Edmonton, Canada, has severe autism.  He can’t read or talk but he can understand even the most confusing diagrams, blueprints and pictorial instructions.  Since Brad was a preschooler, his father, Mark, has been bringing home models, Lego kits and other toys for him to build as “therapy for his mind”.  He figures Brad has assembled more than two thousand objects since then.

Eventually, Mark and his wife, Debbie, agreed that it would be much more practical if Brad built someone else’s projects instead of them always buying this for him to put together.  That’s when Mark decided to help his son turn his skill into a business and Made by Brad came to be.  For only ten to twenty dollars, Brad will come to your house and build your furniture in no time at all.

“Everyone tells us we should be charging more, but we’re not really looking for money.  We just want him to have something meaningful to do.” – Mark Fremmerlid.

The Fremmerlid family should be commended for recognizing Brad’s strengths and building on them.  Many families struggle to find meaningful activities for their autistic children as they move through adolescence into adulthood.  Starting this assembly business could be a great solution for Brad.

We’re still using the IKEA furniture that we bought on the road trip … and we still have some extra pieces that we kept because we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do with them.

Have you ever tried to build anything from IKEA?  Would you hire Brad to do it for you?

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4 Comments
  1. I find their stuff easy to put together – it just requires being slow and methodical. I’m sure the wine tasted good but it probably added to the time it took to build. =]

    Like

  2. thedogs'mother permalink

    Not sure how Canada works (even though I grew up there) re autism. A friend has a 20-something, absolutely brilliant with computers so his dad started a computer business for him and handed it over this year. The state paperwork is horrendous. So discouraging to two working parents to try and handle, call in the small bits of time they can reach the state. They often have to take days off to call and wait in a queue forever. Paperwork comes and goes out. Each has a disclaimer that they could end up in jail if they mess up. The stress is ominous. And I wonder how many people just throw up their hands, can’t manage it at all and put their child on 100% state aid.
    Glad to hear about these people (and friends’ son could do that too).

    Like

    • This really is quite an awesome story. It’s amazing how very different so many things are in Canada.

      Sadly, I believe many parents do throw up their hands in frustration.

      Like

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