After years away from society, he was finally ready to tackle the world. Most services he could access while still in school were no longer a choice. He didn’t have the skills necessary to find success in his community.
He enrolled in a program to help him develop communication, social and work skills. After nine months in the program, he was ready to find work. Did I mention that the COVID Pandemic shut the world down just as he was ready to start supported employment?
He got a job but didn’t get the job coach he needed. That eight-hour-a-week job lasted for six weeks. He loved the work but was just too slow. Next, he started to work at a small pizza place. He lasted a week. The boss liked his work but did not have the time to give him the one-on-one supervision he needed.
Since then, he’s worked on a friend’s ranch, done odd jobs for friends and worked for Mom and Dad with outdoor chores. He isn’t work-hardened and hasn’t learned better work skills.
As the pandemic winds down, a new opportunity is opening. He has a counselor from Texas Workforce Commission, Rehabilitation Services. This counselor worked to find all the tools needed to succeed in work and community.
She connected him to a job coach, an Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist and even a driving program so he could become independent. He now has a résumé. He is learning interview skills and his job coach is working to find the right fit so he can be successful in his next job.
The ABA therapist supplies strategies to help him communicate better. He is learning tools to prevent or stop his panic attacks and PTSD flashbacks. They continue to work on other skills that will lead to his success.
The driving program is starting soon. Hopefully, he will gain confidence in his driving skills and take the next step to independence.
He hopes to get a job that pays enough to let him move into his own place. He and a friend are planning their bachelor pad apartment. He plans to fix up his grandmother’s old car so he has his own transportation.
Once he has financial stability, he hopes to continue his education at the local community college. Even at 25, he is finding the necessary support to take that exciting step into his self-determined future. It is never too late.
Transitioning to adulthood and independence can be done in your own time.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills go beyond academics. Everyday life provides opportunities to apply these skills. During my son’s educational career, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills was often noted in his Individualized Education Plan paperwork. While he may struggle with these skills academically, he solves problems all the time in his daily life.