What kind of agencies are out there to connect me, and my child’s skills, to a potential employer?
My name is Raeme Bosquez-Greer. I have been an Employment Specialist for the most challenging students for over 20 years. Challenging in my vocabulary means that they are harder to place in a competitive employment setting.
All states and cities have agencies similar to the Texas Workforce Commision, a department of rehabilitation and Alamo Area Council of Governments, which I’ll refer to as “The Agencies” for the remainder of this blog. These are the main agencies the parents of a 15+ year old student can go to for their first steps in seeking training, job developing and employment. This umbrella of agencies contracts third party providers to complete services. These providers, like myself, specialize in a variety of disabilities including Autism and Neurodevelopmental challenges. We are paid commission for the services that we provide.
The Agencies mentioned above will educate you regarding all the services they offer either themselves or through the 3rd party providers. They will give you a list of providers to select from. You call the providers on the list and interview them with questions specific to your son or daughters needs and you select the provider that you want to work with.
The agency will give you example questions but you can also ask your own based on what best fits your child.
Example questions you might want to focus on are:
- How long have you worked in the field of vocational rehabilitation?
- What is your success rate with students with Autism or related challenges?
- What are your credentials?
- Describe your most challenging case and did you have a positive outcome?
- What are the most common barriers to overcome for my son or daughter to become successfully employed?
For the state agencies, a student can begin the paperwork process as early as 15 years old. A vocational representative is required to be at the high school a minimum of once a week. I recommend you contact your child’s case manager frequently and ask to make an appointment with their appointed vocational representative. Start services early so that your child has time to learn the skills that they need and overcome any barriers by the time they graduate.
An example of my own daughter receiving services:
Southwind Fields Program Director
Many factors play into a person’s mental health. Communication styles can even be tied into mental health. Having roommates that you must learn to communicate with on a regular basis can be a helpful treatment for depression and isolation. Having roommates can also offer the opportunity for learning valuable social skills that living alone would not. Learning how to live with someone else is an important step in development. Both independence and community involvement go hand in hand for successful living skills, especially for those with ASD.
I began working with a young man I will call Buddy to work on social skills and making connections with others. Buddy recently moved out into the community for the first time and was provided a roommate with a similar profile.
Buddy has lived most of his life in a rural area and was able to remain in his room for long periods of time playing video games. He often had thoughts that would provoke a tense look on his face and he would start punching in the air. Buddy is an extremely kind and gentle young man, however this characteristic causes others to get concerned.
The first step that took place was a dinner with the new roommate so that they could get acquainted with each other.
During this time the two were asked to turn off their phones and openly talk to each other. Buddy is very quiet and his new roommate is very social and does not do well with confrontation. The two were asked open ended questions. Buddy would answer the questions, but his answers were short. His roommate had long animated answers. Despite these communication differences they seemed to get along well. After dinner they were asked to exchange phone numbers since they were going to live together and would be relying on each other.
Buddy will not mention that he gets depressed or anxious but his body language will show it.
Southwind Fields Program Director
With my decades of direct support with individuals who have Autism I have noticed a few commonalities with social skills modeling and maintaining positive healthy friendships. Mentorship and role models are incredibly important for adults with ASD. There are many ways that you can make sure that this invaluable resource is available to your adult children, and it is never too early to start.
As we all know society is ever-changing. What we, as educators and parents have feared for our adult children years ago is pretty much the same now but with even more dangers. We live in constant fear of bullying online and making positive friendships both at work and volunteering in the community. Even the city bus is a fear of uneasiness. “What if’s” are in our minds constantly.
The goals I have tried to teach families are to have a buddy system and to gradually fade out.
I work and have always worked with Youths in Transition. As a support team we search out an appropriate buddy for each individual long term and then begin to fade out. Most times we have to pay individuals to be a friend or advocate for our children. It’s just a fact of life. Your adult child is like anyone else. For a friendship to develop we need consistency, time, and a sense of safety.
Southwind Fields Program Director
What parenting styles work for you? Are we emotionally stunting our own children? Greetings, my name is Raeme Bosquez-Greer. I am a Program Director with Southwind Fields and I am a mother of adopted children who have cognitive disabilities. The subject I will be discussing is from the perspective of a mother who has been there and done that, then did it again.
For many years I have spoken to parents from all walks of life that have an array of parenting styles. The dynamics of relationships in a household molds the emotional balance of your child.
Regarding a person with Autism, this statement is intensified because I believe these youths on the spectrum feel more and absorb more than any other human being. This is often shown when observing social skills with a group of strangers, grocery shopping, attempting to live with a roommate and so much more.
I will admit I am everything rolled into one in regard to being a Lawn Mower Mom, and A Helicopter Mom. I hover, and I over protect. As a professional and advocate I have seen too much to not be these types of mothers.
It is very difficult currently to not be overprotective and wanting to insulate our children in a safe bubble.
After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome.
The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.