27 Sep National Disability Employment Awareness Month
When Sahleah was born, I imagined how she’d contribute to the world. Like most parents, my well-intended day dreams picked her career and aspirations. I’d imagine that she’d be a doctor or an attorney, that she’d attend my alma mater, University of Florida, and she’d have a heart of gold, giving up her weekends to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. No pressure for a newborn! LOL!
In admiration for who she is now, I can attest that her heart is indeed 24-carat gold and her gifts lead me to believe that her contributions to the world will manifest through art, music or animals. Whichever path she chooses, it will look differently and will be even more supported than I could have imagined 13 years ago.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month which observes the contributions of workers with disabilities and acknowledges the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.
Sahleah will be entering the workforce in a few years and my goal is to better prepare her for that milestone. Like all teens, she’s been expressing the need for independence and wants a part time job, while in high school.
In our home, we have identified various ways for Sahleah to increase her independence by completing household chores, such as cooking, caring for the dogs, her room and getting her to the point of doing these unprompted.
In addition to what’s happening at home, I’ll be attending a few workshops sponsored by the county to discuss transition programs that will provide information on work programs, support at college and housing opportunities for those with special needs. I’ll write about these programs in a future post.
NBEAM can trace its roots back to the Social Security Act of 1935, at a time when autism understanding and research was still in its infancy.
As a parent of a child with special needs, I often think about her launch into the world and am grateful for the legislations, such as the American’s with Disabilities Act and programs to make her transition a bit easier.