Risking It All For Our Children

Luke is a handsome young man looking to find a job. Luke is severely disabled with Autism.

Luke is a handsome young man looking to find a job. Luke is severely disabled with Autism.

BASIC FACT: According to the UN, only 2% of
individuals with disabilities are able to
access basic services in their communities,
including education, work, healthcare, and
basic necessities.
Now let me introduce you to my son:
Luke has Autism. He is 20 years old and has only 9 months left in the public school system. Luke is a very loving young man who needs ongoing assistance to function in the world and to communicate. This year the school is attempting to place Luke in a job. Job internship placements are extremely difficult and in some cases lacking. Participation in job exploration in Luke’s past have included working in the library, gardening, recycling, and cleaning tasks. These specially designed activities for Luke are successful only with strong support including a job coach.

Luke has Autism. He is the most precious young man a mother could ask for and yes he needs special help everyday and will need it for the rest of his life. Today I hosted a meeting with a group of individuals all working as a team to assist in Luke transitioning from the school world to the real world. What does a meeting like this look like? As the host, my part is to make sure everyone is on board planning for Luke’s future. Perhaps this may mean developing a personalized work training plan. It also means teaching Luke acceptable worker traits.

Luke's Team of Experts include his teacher, a vocational expert, a job coach, and a visionary who wants to chart out a plan for Luke for all of us to follow.

Luke’s Team of Experts include his teacher, a vocational expert, a job coach, and a visionary who wants to chart out a plan for Luke for all of us to follow.

Luke has Autism. He will always need 24 hours supervision as Luke can be violent and unpredictable at times. Yet, he is the most precious young man and son a mother could ever ask for and he is worth risking it all for to see him be successful. As his mother, it is important to build relationships with Adult Service Partners as I did today hosting a meeting to facilitate Luke’s adventure into the real world. It is my hope the school will work hard to show Luke a visual representation of work experiences. This means a parent must be a strong advocate.
Luke relaxing between jobs at home which include emptying the dishwasher!

Luke relaxing between jobs at home which include emptying the dishwasher!

Luke has Autism. What does success look like for Luke you might ask? First of all it means working with many agencies and coordinating meetings to ensure Luke has success in his future. Today was a day for doing just that. I had folks from Luke’s team meet at my house to discuss possible employment opportunities for Luke. Some of the jobs we brainstormed about included working in a warehouse, or possibly working to clean at a winery. I loved the idea of Luke working in a winery!

Luke has Autism. Who hires someone like Luke? This is a good question. There are not many employers who do. Finding accepting and workable business owners who are willing to go the extra mile to hire someone like my son can be a challenge. For you see Luke can probably only work one hour maybe twice a week. The good news is that Luke wants to work. He talks about it and is excited about it, but he is also nervous and stressed about it in his own way. He realizes his school days are coming to a close rapidly.

Luke has Autism. Luke is worth risking it all for and being there to see him succeed no matter what that success looks like. For now Luke is cleaning school buses, packing lunches, and recycling and carrying out the trash for the school district. It is our hope these jobs at school will translate to gainful employment by the end of the year.

Luke --my goofy son.  He is looking for a job.  Are you hiring?

Luke –my goofy son. He is looking for a job. Are you hiring?

Luke has Autism. He will be the best employee you can ever imagine. It is my hope his future boss will have a great imagination and see what I see. I see success for Luke. This vision is what I hope Luke’s future boss will see and that they see Luke as a great investment. Wouldn’t it be great if all folks with disabilities would be given more opportunities to step into the workforce. This mother knows her son will be a great employee. Why not? He has been an awesome son for 20 years.


15 thoughts on “Risking It All For Our Children

  1. Donna

    Thank you for sharing this. I know that Luke will find a great fit in employment. He has the best advocate … YOU! You are raising wonderful young men. Keep up the good work. We can all learn a lesson from you.

    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Thank you. I do appreciate that. I know the people placed in Luke’s life want the best for him, but it does seem they wait until the last minute to try and place Luke out in the community. I think they should have started in his junior high years with more outings. Alesia

  2. A.M.B.

    What a touching post, Alesia! Luke is very lucky to have you as his mom, and you are lucky to have Luke as your son. It’s great that he has such a supportive team. I hope his transition from school to the working world goes smoothly. I can imagine how anxious it must be making him (and you). Good luck! šŸ™‚

    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Thank you so much. This is the biggest transitional period in his life and we are all a bit stressed. The truth is there is a lot of organizations that could fully support hiring folks like Luke, but choose not to. I just think if an organization could set up an area that was specially designed to make someone like Luke feel fulfilled how wonderful that would be. I do not even care if Luke is paid either. Thanks for your comment. Alesia

  3. Linda

    I do hope the right job opens up for him. I’m not a business owner or in a position to hire, but if I were, the one thing disconcerting in your blog is “Luke can be violent and unpredictable at times.” Employers have a responsibility to keep Luke safe, and also other employees and customers/the public, even when trying to do the right and good thing by employing our special citizens. Sounds like you have a great team and are very much aware of the challenges. May God open the doors for Luke!

    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Yes. You are right. This is why I made an effort to you as the reader the note we are only looking at one or two hours of work a week. This could happen in Luke’s “good” times and at his own pace etc. Luke will always need a buddy with him. It is my hope this buddy would be a care provider that knows Luke all ready. There are many challenges to this working and the flexibility of a really good employer is a must. Thank you for reading! Alesia

  4. coastalmom

    Ahhh I love Luke. When I was in my late teens, I worked at a school called The Speech And Language Development Center. I had a class of six year olds. They had Aphasia and Autisim and I loved them. We made construction paper clocks and all the teachers told me that I could never teach them to tell time. I just smiled. One kindergarten teacher brought me a record that I played over and over again every day and. There was a lot of redirecting but something in the tune caught each of their attention and guess what… they ALL got the concept! It was so great! There was a little boy named Michael. He’s got to be in his forties now! Wow. I wrote a poem about him… I’ll have to try to find it for you!

  5. Jane Fritz

    This is a lovingly written, powerful, and important post, Alesia. It reminds us not only of how our society needs to find ways to provide employment for ALL citizens, so everyone can feel that they are contributing to their full ability, but also of the sobering reality that the challenges never end for the family of children with special needs, regardless of age. Parents are vigilant advocates – and they need the help of others. I hope Luke’s plan works out.

    1. alesiablogs Post author

      I really appreciate that. It is always my wish to see Luke and others like him to be successful not for money’s sake, but more importantly that they feel wanted and have real purpose. I believe Luke is seeking that even with all his challenges. So glad you stopped by. Every so often I write an important post in between a lot of other “stuff”! And you found it.

  6. Pingback: Dysfunctional Is Just A Word | alesiablogs

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