Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My son's job

I said earlier that I would discuss what Son#1, who has an autism-spectrum disorder, does to make money. Since I don’t make many posts that are only one sentence long, I will also take the time to discuss what I have seen of him at work, what his teachers have passed back as the feedback they receive, what doing this means for Son#1 (and us), and what I think this means for his future, below the fold.

His job is at TJ Maxx. It is his first job, and he was hired through a special program at the school. He works 1 or 2 afternoons a week, just under four hours at a time. He is responsible for putting merchandise back on the shelves, making sure that it is properly folded, sorted, or matched as needed. These tasks play very well into his strengths. These tasks deal with concrete objects, as opposed to abstract objects or people, require physical manipulation, and result in a nicely structured and patterned display. I have observed him at work once or twice when he did not know I was there. He moves quickly from place to place, and pays close attention to what he is doing and the final result.

According to his teachers, the store is very pleased with Son#1. While he is now an adult, so it’s not really my place to ask for personnel records (in fact, CharityBrow and I are now merely advisers at his school progress meetings, Son#1 is now in charge of his school plan), his teachers have informed me that he was nominated for Employee of the Quarter. They have continued to schedule him even though the school year is over, and have apparently indicated that they want to keep him after graduation. While I have always known that I have a determined, hard-working son, it’s quite a relief to see other people appreciate those same qualities. We’ve had some bad experiences in that regard, in particular at the church Son#1 attends, where they told him he could no longer volunteer at their Vacation Bible School (Maybe I’ll rant on that another day). While I want all my kids to succeed, there is a certain anxiety with regard to Son#1, and it’s nice to have that partially alleviated. You can make a living stocking shelves.

Then there is the money. Son#1’s first priority is a trip to Disney World with the band, and he is contributing half the amount needed every month (we contribute the other half). In addition, he makes regular trips on his bicycle by himself to buy himself little things: a soda here, a bag of chips there, perhaps some ice cream instead. He is primarily a saver, though. When he is out of money, it’s because he has lent it to us (don’t worry, he gets a very good rate of interest).

Son#1’s ultimate goal is still to be a band teacher. I think he has a chance to do, but it will take him longer than it might take other people. In the meantime, he’ll be able to pay for school, buy himself clothes, and generally enjoy his life while trying to make it better. There’s not much more I could ask for.


Anonymous said...

[Again, a comment on multiple posts.] I know a guy that is in his early forties that took eight years to get a Bachelors in Science Education. He has a disability that makes his speech unclear. Although he was allowed to student teach, but he was never given a teaching job. What was the point, I say, that the institute of higher learning would award him a degree Magna Cum Laude, yet fail to inform him that he was unemployable.

He works in the Quality Department of a legal institute and was awarded employee of the year a few years ago.

Years ago, I worked with a computer programmer that was extremely intelligent. One day at work, he was sitting at this desk in his cubicle and started beating up on himself until security was called and he was escorted out.

I'm not sure what ever happened to this CP. I say this to say that PDD-NOS is not the only thing that could make someone act out at work and lose their job. In a bigger city, there would be more opportunities to find new employment, conceivably, if Son#1 were to lose it at work and lose his job as a result.

One Brow said...


Thanks for the kind comments (I'm pretty sure all four come from the same person). I don't think you need to worry about your three, they sound like they're heading in the right directions.