The Special Needs and disabled community have something in common. They all struggle to find meaningful work. Most of the Special Needs community attend day programs. They are a structured environment where people are given work assignments. An example would be placing cards in plastic sleeves or placing a number of objects in a package.
Our Son has attended three different day programs. For ten years we have struggled to find work in the community, outside the day center, that would accommodate his diagnosis’s of Prader-Willi Syndrome. He can’t work around food, period. Most special needs people are likely to be employed by the food service industry, either as fast food or grocery store workers. Not an option if you have the Syndrome.
Our new social worker Kelly Ruiz did not see this as an insurmountable barrier. At our annual meeting last year Robert expressed his desire to work in the community. In a month Kelly had him connected with Matt Seeman at Companion Linc. Matt Seeman would be Robert’s liaison with prospective employers.
Companion Linc was originally based in Nebraska, it came to Minnesota in 2015. The company receives funding from our Waiver program. The Waiver program is part of Medical Assistance and provides services that help people with disabilities live in the community, not institutions. Companion Linc has several services including supported employment, day service programs, and respite care.
It was an anxiety producing process for Robert to seek and interview with possible employers. Matt coached our son in all aspects of a job search. A position at the YMCA ,cleaning in the workout area was obtained, after rigorous screening.
A two-day work week is now in place. The elation that Robert expressed about his ability to work and earn money is phenomenal.
Our family continues to be the recipients of tremendous gifts. Many of the people we encounter are extraordinary advocates, going above and beyond their job requirements. They amaze us with their willingness to help persons who are unable to navigate the system alone.