William B. was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 years old. His family immediately began early intervention visits with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. William’s mother credits these techniques to increasing William’s sociability skills. William was referred to Goodwill from Florida Atlantic University’s C.A.R.D. (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) and then enrolled into the Discovering Your Potential (DYP) program. DYP was an employment and training program serving persons diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The program was unique in that it was able to incorporate Discovery assessments, which is an in-depth assessment which evaluates a participant’s interests and seeks employment within these fields. William had a knack for cooking and baking which was discovered during his evaluation; the Employment Consultant working with William, then sought a food prep position at a local restaurant. William had graduated high school and was considering attending Palm Beach State College and working at the same time. His C.A.R.D counselor referred William to Goodwill’s DYP program so he could receive paid training opportunities, employment, and social skill building. William needed an advocate to assist him with interviewing and completing job applications. In the beginning, William lacked confidence and wanted his Case Manager to attend every interview with him, but by the conclusion of the program William was very comfortable interviewing by himself and was starting to arrange for his own transportation.
The DYP team helped William discover his potential. He entered the work-world and was earning a living, making friends within the program as well as at his training sites. William also learned transferrable job skills and was able to build his resume. DYP through Goodwill and applied behavior analysis services through Behavior Basics came together to help William.
William attended Employability Skills classes focused on Attitude on the Job, Resume Building, and Team Building, mock interview assistance and feedback, paid On the Job trainings (OJTs), support from his Case Manager and Employment Consultant, and once employed job coaching from his Job Coach who helped him with learning and mastering his job duties. William also received behavior analysis sessions through Behavior Basics. Together they were able to focus on job maintenance strategies and interventions to help William maintain his position.
DYP truly changed William’s life. He embraced the program and identified getting a job as a goal on his Personal Development Plan and made it happen! William listened to all the feedback provided and adjusted with ease. DYP also offered pro-social events to encourage interaction among participants with limited social skills. William participated in several, including: a participant show and tell, book club, and meet and greet. William is now working at a restaurant and is able to financially contribute to his household. William is an exemplary graduate of the DYP program. He would like to save enough money to purchase a vehicle of his own so he won’t have to rely on public transportation. William feels a great sense of pride and accomplishment. He appreciates the help he received, but recognizes he can make it on his own. He said he “likes his work.”