Your son and his job

Peter — how is your son doing at his job? Has he completed his training? How does he feel about it?

=sheila

Well, things are taking longer than expected. He finished his initial training. Part of that training is reading through an operations manual and then taking a test on it. I suspect he didn’t pass the test, although we have not heard that directly. He is not a good reader, and spent most of his training time on that task. He learns much better via hands on learning or by listening. And he retains a surprising amount of what he hears. (Arguably, better than I do these days!)

A couple of days after the last training day, he did hear from his employer that they want him to re-do at least that portion of his training with a job coach. So then we had to arrange for a job coach and struggle through terminology differences. What the employer means by a job coach and what the agency helping him means by a job coach are two very different things. Clearing that up took a week or so. But we finally go through that. Then it was another week to get the agency to approve the coach, which they did. Currently we’re now waiting for that agency to actually assign a coach and for the coach and the employer to agree on availability so that the coach and the trainer are available at the same time.

In addition to helping with the material he needs to learn, the coach is also able to suggest any further accommodations that he might need. I have confidence that this will all come together eventually, and will boil down to my son’s ability to pass the test and accomplish the basic job tasks by himself, with reasonable accommodations for both. The test is likely the harder part, but I think it’s doable as long as the coach is allowed to read the questions to him. I’m sure he can accomplish the job tasks.

Another wrinkle is that the job itself is changing slightly in the near future, and in a way that will make the job easier for the kid to do. Parts of the change have already begun, but won’t really help him until there is a significant roll out. The project is basically in what I’d call a public test - with only certain guests able to take advantage of the new entry procedures. A bigger benefit will come when those procedures become available to all guests, but the real payoff for him will be when those become required for everyone. That has already happened at a different facility on the other side of the country. Once that is in place here, most of the things he is worried about will be solved.

How does he feel? That’s the harder part. His makeup is such that the time to do anything that needs to be done is NOW! Need to go grocery shopping? Why are we waiting, let’s go. Need a new jacket or shoes? He’s ready to go. And that’s what he wants for this as well. The wait for bureaucracy to move is difficult for him. It’s been almost a month since his last training day. During that time, he keeps asking if he should just ask for a different job at the company, or work on getting a different job altogether. It’s hard to keep him patient. I try to keep reminding him that if they didn’t want him to succeed at this particular job, they would already have suggested a different one, or thanked him for trying and asked him to turn in his uniform and employee ID. So I remain hopeful even while he is impatient - and tests my patience.

Sorry for the somewhat excessive vagueness about his job and employer. I’m pretty sure I’ve dropped enough hints throughout my posts on this subject to figure out the employer, but I’m not going to name names for now.

–Peter

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That is an elaborate and demanding situation! I don’t know why I had had the impression that he’d be doing something simple that involved dealing with the public—ticket salesl or some such—at a movie theater. I’m so deeply pleased that his employers are showing confidence in his ability to grow to the job, and are helping him achieve that.

As for your hints re his employer—they all went over my head! Does this have anything to do with a sports stadium? World Series games? I’m completely at a loss! But so delighted at your son’s opportunity to move more out into the world, develop his capabilities, experience his presence.

=sheila

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That’s pretty close. He’s not selling tickets, he’s taking them at the entrance.

And yes, dealing with a large bureaucracy is never easy or fast. It’s not a complicated job, but since there are probably a couple hundred people doing this particular job (and most every other job at the facility), there is a lot of standardization to every job there. Standards that must be learned and followed. And since the general public is involved, there’s also a fair amount of training for what to do in unusual situations to keep both employees and the public safe.

–Peter

PS - I think most of the hints were in previous posts. Think large entertainment facility in Orange County that attracts visitors from all around the world.

Got it!! :wink:

=sheila

Peter –

My goodness! That young man is sure learning a lot about the real world outside of school. If this beginner position works out, this employer might eventually be able to employ him long term with terrific benefits.

Is the employer aware of how tough his last few years have been? Even large bureaucracies give a little more leeway when someone is grieving. The structure and responsibility of a job will be so helpful for him.

With a significant other on disability, I can relate to the strange world of trying to work with a job coach. In our case, before his surgery, my SO had a desk job requiring a college degree that involved numbers and spreadsheets. His job coach was used to working with fork lift operators, restaurant employees, and construction workers. Not a great fit, but sometimes you just have to follow the bureaucratic process.

It sounds as if the employer is making accommodations and wants this to work out. Crossing my fingers for you both.

HHP

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A bit of an update on the week’s activities.

We finally got a job coach assigned early this week. The coach and the agency said they would contact the employer to let them know the coach was ready. Haven’t heard anything from the employer yet. So the kiddo suggested he contact his employer also, which I agreed was a good idea. We did that today. No response back yet, but I remain confident that things will come together.

He and I did have a bit of a run in with each other about that this morning. In putting together an e-mail to his contact at work, I wanted to refer back to an earlier e-mail to make sure we got a bit of information correct. I knew it was from this week, but simply couldn’t find it. I’m sure I went up and down the list of e-mails more than once, and I know exactly what I’m looking for. He kept telling me to look further up and further down, but I had already done that more than once. (I should point out that I despise the online version of Outlook, but that is the best way for him to read e-mails, as he has a screen reader that only works on web pages. That gives him valuable independence, so I have to put up with it.) I eventually blew up at him for continually telling me to do things I’ve already done multiple times. After a brief bit of mutual shouting, I walked away into my home office to cool off. He didn’t cool as quickly and eventually came over to talk to me some more and press his point. It took pretty much everything I had, but I kept my cool even as he started to lose his again. But we both eventually got to the place where we could talk and work and finished up the job. And things are fine now.

This kid and this job are going to kill me one of these days. But not today! And not tomorrow. Hopefully by next week we’ll have a plan and we can both settle down.

–Peter

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The seemingly small things that can impose such heavy demands!

Fingers crossed for the right outcome!

=sheila

Let’s resurrect this thread for an update.

DS went to work today! (OK, yesterday since it’s after midnight, but you know what I mean.) And will be training all week, except for Thursday. (There are benefits to having a trainer with sufficient seniority to get a holiday off!)

Then the training will continue next week.

Finally. It’s taken 6 weeks to get this all worked out, which seems like a really long time. But it’s done and things are moving again.

—Peter

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Excited and hopeful for both of you. All of these new changes and challenges will keep you both busy and maybe help you create some new traditions. And, if you don’t feel like doing much decorating yet this year, your son will see plenty of holiday decorations.

Sending hugs to you both. Fingers crossed that it will work out.

HHP

Day 2. Closing shift.

Kiddo got a costume at his last training back in Sept. Evening weather is colder now. Needs a costume jacket. Trainer asked him to come early this evening to get a refresher on working with the costume dept. I really wanted him to get that done yesterday because he needs help dressing. I could have been that help and made sure he was wearing it when he arrived this evening. But does common sense and preparedness prevail? Not around me.

So now he’s in the park, job coach in tow, and the trainer is missing. I’m stuck hanging out close by in case no one can help him put on a jacket. Trainer cannot assist with such things. Job coach is there for job tasks, not personal care. If neither of them bend rules slightly, I will probably have to do that myself. Otherwise a skinny, disabled young adult is going to be working outside at night with temperatures falling from the current 60 to the low 50s by the time his shift is ended.

—Peter <== reporting from a restaurant parking lot about a mile from a reasonable meeting place, ready to assist with the massively complex task of donning a jacket

The small things we take for granted that can loom so large. It gives a needed jolt to our perspective.

I look forward to all of these hurdles smoothing out. And I find myself very grateful that your son has this opportunity to.

=sheila

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I hope the costume department can make some alterations to the jacket – maybe different fasteners or more of a cape style. Does your son need to be lifted out of the chair to put on the jacket and/or are there tubes and ports that need to be moved and checked? What did he do when he went to school and went outside for recess? Was there a personal care aid to help him or did he have special clothing? I think the employer is really trying to make this work.

I’ve watched my friends struggle on when to intervene and when to back off with helping their kids. It’s another level when disabilities are involved. You’re a good father, Peter.

HHP

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Thank you both for your thoughts. I appreciate it.

Turns out that common sense and humanity prevailed last night. DS never texted me that he got a coat, but after waiting around for more than an hour while keeping an eye on his location (we share our location with each other on our phones), I figured that he managed to get a coat on. And that was correct.

We have been in that park enough over the years for me to recognize most costumes. So it was surprising to see him in the wrong costume coat when I picked him up last night. And it wasn’t close to the right size. He looked a bit like the male version of Violet Beuregard (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) rolling around in an oversized dark blue coat. I had to smile a bit at that thought.

Anyway, the upshot was that costuming didn’t have the right costume coat available, so they did the best they could with what was in stock. (Yet another reason to get to costuming before the last minute - but apparently no one listens to me.) A proper costume coat in a more appropriate size is on order. Not sure how DS will know that it’s ready to pick up, but that IS what training is for, I suppose. Upon closer inspection when we got home, it turns out the coat was a men’s medium. That might give you some idea of his size. (For those familiar with the small, wiry, hispanic body type, that’s him. His birth father was hispanic.)

For some specifics, no he does not have any ports or tubes or special equipment. The only special item is absorbent underwear, just in case. He can’t get himself out of his chair when nature calls, and I wouldn’t expect anyone at his job site to assist him with that. That is one reason he asked for and was granted shorter work shifts - no more than 5 hours. With travel time and time spent getting to and from the parking area and drop off site, he’s easily away from home for 6+ hours with no restroom break. He’s young and has a strong bladder, but I don’t want to press things.

When he was in school, he had a one-on-one aide whose job included getting him in and out of things like jackets and taking him to the restroom. As to getting a jacket on him, it’s not terribly different from how one might assist a fully-abled adult with their coat. The main modification would be that he doesn’t move around to assist with the process, you have to move around him.

And now he’s already back at work again. I’m certain this is a bit of a stress test, having him work until midnight followed by a shift at 11 am the next morning. His particular position has to be staffed from around 7 am to 1 am every day. If it weren’t for a Thanksgiving interruption driven by his trainer, he would be reporting at 6:45 am tomorrow. So he gets a bit of a break and will have to report at that time on Friday instead. I am pretty sure they want to see how new hires respond to varying shift times. They also need to expose them to both opening and closing procedures as part of their training. So it all makes sense. They can accomplish both goals by running them on a difficult schedule. His second week of training will be a steady 10 - 3 next week. A bit more conducive to learning.

Lastly, I do agree they are doing their best to make this work. The company has an express policy to work with the disabled community, both as customers and employees. They are putting a lot of effort into his training, including running through the whole training cycle a second time. But they also have high standards, and expect everyone to handle the main job requirements. So this isn’t a slam dunk. Frankly, it’s a stretch for him to be able to keep this job. But I think his attitude and his enthusiasm are working in his favor. They like to employ fans of the company - from top to bottom. People who are just doing a job don’t give off the right vibe - and an entertainment company is nothing without that vibe. Their products and services are entirely optional, so all they really have to sell is good feelings. You need to exude those good feelings - and that is exactly DS. If he didn’t have that attitude, I don’t think he would have made it past the recruiters.

–Peter

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Yeah! There are so many rules and regulations about personal care activities because no one wants to be sued for doing something wrong or doing something “without the proper training”. A costume department has formal training on how to dress people.

His gift to the world. Fingers crossed that this works out.

HHP