Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Workin' Man

We didn't really know if our son Stephen (Stevie) would ever have a job. Though we did have that hope, because shortly after he was born we attended some Down Syndrome support group meetings in my area and heard testimonies and saw films of the achievements of Down syndrome adults. We started Stephen at a rehab center for mental disabilities when he was just 6mo old at the request of his doctor. I went with him for the first year there, learning the excersizes and diligently following through at home. In public school I opted to keep him in the special ed classes up through high school, though it was frowned upon by some of the other members of the support group who promoted integration and were trying to eliminate special education classes. I knew the extra challenges work good for many mentally handicapped, but I did not think it would work for his personality and disposition, and he thrived there, also making friends with the "normal" students. Stephen now has the temperament of a 5yr old, but some of his ability levels are close to 7yrs. He got to stay in school until he reached 21. A job coach assigned to his class assessed him for learning different types of jobs during his last year. Such as volunteering at the public library 1 hr a week and helping in the school cafeteria. After graduation I got him on a waiting list for a job coach to find a regular job according to his ability. He had a couple of working interviews before the coach found one that I would agree he could deal with. Sweeping popcorn at the cinema. I was unsure that he could do the hardest part of the job which was to follow a team of co-workers into each individual room after the movie was done and the people cleared out, and VERY QUICKLY get down on knees to hand sweep popcorn, etc, from under the seats. There are lots of short breaks between movies to rest, and sometimes he just hands out 3D glasses or helps the ticket taker. It took a few nights before we decided that it wasn't too much for him since he would start with only 2hrs a night, only 2 days a week. He didn't dislike it too much (got more used to it later) and he got to know his co-workers who help keep an eye on what he is supposed to be doing, along with his boss of course. He loves getting a pay check and now at age 24 he tells his friends "I a workin' man". a book
a nice story

18 comments:

Jen said...

He sure is something to be proud of...what a cutie...good for him..working man. Thanks for stopping by my blog...glad to have you!

Much More Than a Mom said...

That's awesome for him!

Josh and Deliverance said...

He loves that free popcorn, too! :) I hope we can go see him doing his work sometime.

Tracey said...

How awesome for Stephen, and for your whole family! Congrats on his achievements.

Thanks for stopping by. It's always nice to meet new people!

Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

What a wonderful young working man you've got there. I really enjoyed reading about him.

And thanks for stopping by my blog. I am so glad you came. I'll be visiting you now that I know your here.

Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

Oh yeah. I chose to keep my daughter in a special needs classroom, too. I don't care what others think. I know, as her mother, where she can be pushed and where she would drown.

Bethany said...

Thank you for this post. It was great to read about Stevie and his job. I hope that he really enjoys it now that he's more used to it.

Thank you also for your comment, it's nice to meet you. I'm glad you enjoyed my blog.

Kari said...

I am so happy you found my blog and came by :)) I am very excited to have another blog to visit. Your son sure is handsome!! I loved reading about your working man!!

Amy said...

What a handsome gentleman you have Linda! Congratulations Stevie!

Thanks for stopping by my place and saying "hi". It is very nice to meet you and your beautiful family (even if it's just through your pics)! :)

truth said...

Ah congratulations to the working man on getting and keeping his job! This story makes me cry. I think because of my grandson Ethan's disabilities. We really do not know what the future holds for him.

Thank-you for sharing your awesome man.

Amy said...

You da man, Stephen! Way to go. I am proud of you!

My father used to be a Kroger manager and he hired several young men with Down's. A took some training and a watchful eye, but they were awesome at their job. My father has since passed away, but two of the men are still working there!

I am loving your blog, btw. I have met some amazing women in Blogville and I can already tell you are one of them!

Heather said...

That is so awesome! I used to be a special ed teacher and though integration is nice for some children it is not the best learning environment for others. What a blessing for him to be working--we all need some sort of work to do--work is a gift from God.

Michelle said...

thank you so much for the last few comments you've left on my blog; and I apologize for taking so long to get over here! I'm just so behind on everything it seems!

Thank you for sharing this post; I so enjoyed reading it! You can tell how proud you are of Stevie, and how proud he is of earning a paycheck - which he should be.

I'm looking forward to reading more!

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said...

how precious......

There is a man with Downs Syndrome at the nursing home.. He helps out.. .and I have a patient on Hospice there... so when I go see her I see him..
well, he is so precious... sweet and full of joy... He hugs and kisses my hand...I always look forward to seeing him...

I bet that is how it is with your sweet son..

What a sweetie..

Adventures In Babywearing said...

De told me about this and I was so excited! And also because it's at Portage 9/16... where I used to work! He has turned into a fine working man! Remember when he called me Boppany? : )

Steph

As We Sail... said...

Steph -I forgot about Boppany. It was so nice that all Deliverance's friends were so sweet to Stevie growing up.
He knows how to say Stephanie now because he had a classmate all through school with that name, and he's still good friends with her.

Connie -Stevie is very friendly to those he knows real well, but he is generally not that outgoing, and will even balk at people who come up to him, even if he knows who they are. But if they don't back away and will say a few words to him he will feel friendly with them real fast. It's like an initial anxiety that quickly dissipates. People in our church have come to accept that.
Truth -I feel for you. It was easy to get discouraged when trying to teach Stephen because it would sometimes take a year or two to learn the simplest things, and then forget them again. We needed to prioritize what we expected him to learn. I believe the Lord wanted to teach me patience and tolerance mostly, that's why I said in a previous post that the Lord is fixing ME.

Mimi's Toes said...

Oh, that is a great job for Stevie. I always thought he was such a wonderful young man and watching his and Dee's brother/sister relationship was so heart warming. I hope I see him when I go see a movie there.

C. R. Morris said...

What a great day! That is awesome and I'm sure he's doing great! If you haven't, you should check out my friend's blog. I'm her daughter's biggest fan. ;-) She has great eyebrows! http://downbloggers.blogspot.com/