Tara used to be verbally and physically aggressive and become agitated easily, but you’d never guess that when you talk to her today. Today she is happy to tell you about all the activities she does for fun, such as playing Uno, dancing to her favorite music, or taking part in art classes and projects — but that’s not all. She also likes to talk about her job.
Its only been a few months since Tara, a Family Care member, started working again, doing multiple jobs at a supervised workplace. Some days she assembles name tags and others she makes pizzas. No matter what the day on the job brings, it has made a huge difference in Tara’s life. Since she started working, her behavior has improved so much, her incidents have dropped to zero.
“She’s much more fulfilled now,” says her dad, Mark.
Those around her say her whole posture and attitude has changed. Now she is more interested in participating in group activities with others at the community-based residential facility where she lives. She goes on more outings and has better interactions with others.
Previously, Tara had worked at a pre-vocational site, and after it closed down, she was transferred into day programming. The day programming didn’t provide her with enough stimulation and left her bored. That caused an increase in her behavior issues.
During her member-centered planning meeting in the fall the care team could see that Tara was apologizing for her behavior and wasn’t as happy as she could be. The care team began looking for different options that would make Tara happier and spoke to her family see if they would be interested in any of them. About a month later, they took a tour of the location that would eventually become Tara’s worksite.
“Working really adds so much to her life,” says her mom, Carla, “a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.”
At first, she worked three days a week, but is now up to four. She could work five days, but needs time for physical therapy and to give her hips, which are sore, a rest. She says she works with nice people and is happy to work there. She also enjoys making the extra money. When asked what her plans are for some of her spending money she smiles.
“Maybe take Dad out for dinner or lunch.”