Recently, I attended Peter's annual job review at the curative workshop where he goes daily. A workshop where companies have individuals with special needs fill orders for them. I know at this particular workshop, Johnson Wax has been a very good sponsor. I must admit, I was a tad apprehensive as last year his review did not go so well. He was having a hard time staying on task, staying in the lines, and was really attracted to the time clock, so much that he would leave his piecework job and go punch everyone's cards, of course, that would be in the middle of the day! So last year at this time, Peter was managing to push people's patience buttons to the max, that would be people who already have an extra dose of love and patience. At that time, I went into overdrive and tried to come up with ways to help Peter. I walked him between the yellow lines and made him repeat "Stay within the lines, the lines are your friends". We discussed the purpose of time cards and how important it was to complete his job. I know there was bribery involved and I hoped and prayed he would eventually figure out his new role in life.
This year, I was told, he is still working on staying friends with the lines. But, after listening to his review, I was beaming. Over the past year, he has managed to stay on task and build triggers and put caps on triggers, all fairly demanding for someone who struggles with fine motor movement. Triggers, you see, are those things at the top of a spray bottle, that allows us, the customer to spray the windows, the toilets, whatever. This year, he increased his productivity thirty percent, and made six hundred dollars for the year, enough to pay for a special trip to Chicago. And, did I mention that they removed the time clock, so he lost the need to go and punch everyone's time card. Now that was a blessing! I am sure one of his autistic behaviors was drawing him to that clock, and that need to punch.
Remember those doors and windows I talked about earlier, well, if you asked me, this is a window of opportunity for Peter. A chance for him to move into the adult working world and feel good about himself. An opportunity to be independent, have somewhere to go everyday and spend time with others like him and than come home at the end of the day and relax...now there is a working man!