Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HIring the Handicapped

Last spring we had a crucial decision to make when it came to what path our #2 daughter would take for the upcoming year. She is a very high functioning person with Autism, and was about to graduate from High School. She could have gone on to college, but we decided that she would benefit from a year of work to give her some life experience.

We began working with Vocational Rehabilitation and a job coach to find her a part-time job. It is now Februrary and she is on her second job coach and still has not found a single employer in this wonderful progressive college town that is willing to give my daughter a chance at a part time job.

How demoralizing it must be for her to apply for job after job and be turned down time after time because of her obvious disabilities. (she has some serious social interraction deficits). If someone would give her a chance she also has some amazing abilities, such as she can do just about anything with Paintbox Pro, and PhotoShop. She writes really well, and can format flyers and other types of media. She could be taught to run copy equipment or do data entry.

The last few weeks her job coach has resorted to having her apply for jobs like hotel housekeeping, because she has exhausted everywhere else. It has to be frustrating for my daughter. I know I am very frustrated. Handicapped people with much less ability than she are working all over the city, but no one seems to want to give her a chance.

I keep second guessing our choice. Would she have been better off if we had encouraged her to go straight to college? She would have one entire semester of classes under her belt by now instead of half a year of wasted computer time (which is what she does all day when she is at home -- plays around watching web junk. What a life. ) At least she is volunteering one morning a week at the school library where I volunteer, but even that isn't giving her any real outlet, or leading to a job.

If anyone has any ideas of which saints I should be praying to, or where I might suggest to her job coach to look for a placement for Molly, please help me out. The year is about over, and the life lesson that Molly has learned is that when you are handicapped you have to work ten times as hard to get anywhere. Which I suppose will be a good lesson in the long run. I would have liked for her to at least be getting a little income along with the lesson though.



The Ironic Catholic said...

I have no advice...but I will say a prayer for her today.

Peace, IC

Paul Stokell said...

Girls can have autism/Asperger's?? Go figure, I thought it was exclusively a male-inherited trait.

I have a high-functioning Asperger's boy in one of my Seventh Grade classes, and it has been a wealth of experience for me.

Prayers and all good things to your daughter and to all of you!

angelmeg said...

Autism Spectrum disorder is a huge umbrella for many types of communication disabilities and delays.

I have two children who fall under the autism spectrum disorder umbrella. My son is textbook asperger's my daughter is probably something more along the lines of hyperlexia. She didn't speak at all until she was nearly four, she still doesn't speak unless it is totally necessary, but she can and does speak like a college professor when the need arises.
She has difficulty with idiomatic speach and has no inflection in her voice when she does speak though.

Adoro te Devote said...

She could totally do MY job; what you describe is the majority of what I do and I suck at it.

Our department has a secretary...maybe she shoud apply to work at a church as a secretary for faith formation.

OK, so that's not really waht I do, do but our secretary makes up fliers, does amazing things on the computer, etc.

We are always working on marketing...that sounds like where your daughter's talents lie. Maybe I can phase myself out and let your daugher take over my spot? She'd probably do a better job and it would look GREAT!