Nicholas' Communication Journey
Nicholas expressed interest in stocking, and was open to stocking anywhere. His vocational counselor, Alexandra, went in person to the employer several times to advocate for him. He doesn't communicate verbally so Alexandra worked with him to create a "one pager" for the employer. Nicholas used a communication device to type out his one pager, explaining why he wanted to work for the employer, and a little bit about himself. He was open about his communication challenges, however that he was just like everyone else.
Nicholas is friendly, and outgoing. He does not let his disability hold him back, and although he cannot always communicate with customers, he always offers a smile and directs guests to an associate if they have questions. He is detail orientated, remains focused at work and always has a smile on his face.
Alexandra assisted him with developing strategies to communicate with his employer, as well as customers in non-verbal ways. They created a communication book. This book was laminated and attached to a lanyard which Nicholas wears at work. The top page indicates he does not communicate verbally, and would be happy to find a coworker to help. The book additionally had phrases such as "I'm done, what's next?" and "I need a break" for communicating with his employer. The book has emergency contact information, his clock in information, and a letter board for communicating.
Nicholas started his positions stocking the produce department, twice a week for 2 hours per shift. After about a month, this was extended to three days a week. After about 3 months of working in produce, his shift was extended to 3 hours, and during the last hour Nicholas assists with scanning products at the register while another coworker finishes the transaction.
His job includes stocking the produce department, unloading produce from boxes, stocking in various sections of the department and scanning products at the register for customers.
Nicholas now receives support once a week through Waiver funded on-going supports. Alexandra is on site for about 30 minutes to an hour to ensure Nicholas is clocking in/out, as well as staying on track and maintaining his employment.
Intially, Nicholas was hesitant to complete any tasks without reassurance from his vocational counselor, or his natural support (one of his coworkers). He was hesitant to work with other coworkers that he was unfamiliar with. Alexandra supported him with taking the initiative to complete tasks without reassurance by systematically phasing out the prompts. The longer Nicholas has worked at the location, the more he is becoming comfortable with all of his coworkers. Now he jumps in and works at the register with whichever coworker needs help.
Nicholas has a great sense of humor and has a very positive, friendly attitude. In his free time, he enjoys reading, bowling, watching TV, and being with friends.