“This letter is in support of the STEP program of Community Options a testimonial to the successes my son has enjoyed during his daily activities on the job. The STEP transition program has helped Steven learn new skills through guided learning experiences. It has helped him grow into a responsible and contributing member of a team. He is now confident about his abilities and knows that he makes a difference in people‘s lives. He is delighted to be working every day and proud that he is a contributing member of society. Steven has developed a level of independence in the work environment that I did not imagine was possible.
Steven‘s successes were possible because of the dedicated support he has received in the STEP program. Every day he engages in professional and social conversations with his Job Coaches, this not only guided his skill development but also has helped him mature into a committed worker. His job placements have been varied, but the program managers have selected targeted and appropriate positions for him after discussions of preferences and strengths with Steven and his parents. The director of Transition Services has facilitated Steven’s program from his initial ESY experience, which required close one-on-one job coaching, through the current year where Steven strives to show leadership in guiding newcomers to the program.
Steven’s experiences at STEP began during a summer ESY program. At that time, he had no experience in a work environment outside of school tasks. The STEP staff was very supportive. That summer, he had a variety of jobs, while the STEP personnel tried to determine his personal strengths. The Director frequently observed him on the job, seeking understand where Steven might fit to make a worthwhile contribution. Steven was hardly ready for independent work. He started each day with a worthwhile contribution. Steven was hardly ready for independent work. He started each day with a parent waiting for the job coach to arrive in our driveway, where we made certain that Steven greeted the job coach and buckled up in the car. The day ended when I would meet the job coach for a quick replay of the afternoon’s activities. During his first year, Steven’s jobs were varied and included making deliveries in a hospital, cleaning tables and vacuuming floors, sorting medical records, food service preparation and shelf-stocking, garden center cleanup, and shelving books at a community library. We determined where he was happiest and most comfortable. In the second year, in addition to some of the earlier job placements, Steven worked at a YMCA where he was happiest greeting members and working on the front desk computer, but he also cleaned exercise equipment and folded towels. He worked in several office settings supporting the staff in filling, copying and faxing. He worked in several retail sites, with tasks ranging from cleaning to shelving products. The program staff even found a placement for Steven’s favorite job placement is delivering the mail at a local hospital and supporting the hospital’s lab by setting up supplies. Steven’s day now begins with more independence and responsibility: Steven watches for his job coach’s arrival, he says goodbye to me, and independently greets his job coach. Upon his return in the afternoon, I frequently observe him conversing with the job coach for a couple of minutes in the car. He is comfortable interacting with his job coaches.
I look forward to STEP’s weekly progress reports to learn more about the ways Steven is living a fulfilled life, contributing outside of his home as a volunteer. He is happy and confident. He has learned to handle new job expectations and changes that occur. He has managers. Even when he is having an occasional bad day, with redirection from the caring job coaches, Steven can be guided to be back on task. He is learning to help others. He is working on his time management and communication skills. We are beginning to prepare him for more independent work. He is comfortable and reliant on his job coaches; now, we are beginning to help him learn to ask for help when needed, but to rely more on himself.
When my husband and I registered Steven with the STEP program, we were uncertain of the kinds of success Steven might experience. We were hopeful that Steven would mature and grow in his skills. Today, Steven looks forward to going to work with STEP continued development, and plan for him to gain the necessary skills leading to a more independent placement in the future.
I hope this letter helps parents and school personnel understand some of the experiences that are possible with the STEP program. We are strong advocates of the program because of the successes our son has achieved. His program and guidance have been individualized and appropriate for his abilities. In fact, the job coaches have determined accommodations that help Steven succeed in his tasks. Steven has accepted more responsibilities in his job placements and continues to add to his skillset.”
Parent of a STEP Participant