My son, Ryan, participated in high school graduation at age 20 and then attended a transition program at another campus. This transition year was very important because attending college was not a good fit for him and he wasn’t yet ready for his first job in the young adult world.
During this transition year, he visited various work places with two of his classmates and the teacher’s assistant. They visited restaurants, libraries, Goodwill stores, and a school cafeteria. The exposure he received helped with job skills, social skills, and the opportunity to experience new surroundings.
The school cafeteria manager liked Ryan and wanted to hire him part-time. This was incredible news. I was not sure this would happen for a long time.
I always knew that Ryan was capable, and I wanted him to be all that he could be. But that did not mean other people would see him for his abilities and all he has to offer. Given the opportunity, young adults can perform tasks, but it takes open-minded employers to give them a chance.
Ryan interviewed with the Director of Nutrition Services and was offered the job on the spot. He told the man, “I’ll think about it.” That sounds just like Ryan! I had to laugh because with Ryan, the only excitement you will typically see from him relates to his favorite restaurants, movies, or television shows.
Fortunately, the director knew of Ryan’s disabilities and was not offended. I immediately told him that Ryan would take the job and I thanked him many times.
Ryan starts next week on a part-time basis. This is a new beginning. The people he will be working with already know him from the last school year. His manager understands his abilities and believes he will work out just fine. I know he will be safe and working with people who accept him for who he is.
Parents want their children to grow into young adults that have purpose in life. I am so happy that this new job will give Ryan that purpose!
Visit this website for more information on transitioning to adulthood.
Sam Allen has high-functioning autism. He was recently recognized as a Student Success Story at the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) annual conference.
Students with disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. When children don’t feel safe at school, it can have a devastating impact on their emotional growth and ability to learn.
It is important for parents to help their children know the words to use when talking about disability. Arming them with the appropriate words will help them feel confident and able to educate friends and strangers.