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The Voice of Autism: Audacious Possibilities.

Within my career, of more than twenty-five years, my greatest opportunities have been to serve as mentor, trainer, and clinician in the areas of Behavioral Health and Disability Services. As a result, I have had the great privilege to work with so many amazing people. In 2016, I learned of the Extended Work Adjustment Training Program, at Goodwill Industries of Dallas through the Office of Workforce Development. My instant thought was this organization gets it!

Many adults on the autism spectrum experience barriers to completing postsecondary education training opportunities, accessing healthcare, and attaining integrating community living.   Goodwill offers Day Habilitation Services for individuals with significant disabilities. This program provides integrated, paid on-the-job Job Training, along with Budgeting/ Money Management and Independent Living Training.

The Clients are encouraged to imagine their own Audacious Possibilities. Earlier this week I had an opportunity to have a conversation with Chris, a new client. Chris is a 32-year-old male, who hosts his own YouTube Channel, who is self-professed as a great gamer, he loves gardening, and spending time with his family. Chris stated that he is autistic and came to Goodwill because he wants to gain the skills and training needed to become independent. In August of 2020, Chris went to live with his older brother and his family after their mother passed away. With the support of his brother and sister-in-law, Chris states he is committed to learning the skills he will need to become independent and to make his mother and family proud.

Chris enjoys working in the warehouse where he is motivated to keep working until the job is finished. Chris understands that the staff at Goodwill is here him to support him; however, he knows he has a voice to advocate for himself and he leads the conversation in goal setting in his personalized Case Management. Chris spoke to the value of engaging in the Day Habilitation classes, where he states he really needs help budgeting the money he earns while working at Goodwill.

According to Chris and so many other clients and families, Goodwill holds true to the purpose of helping persons with barriers recognize and reach their full potential and experience life filled with purpose, accomplishment and self-sufficiency

Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc. Changing Lives, one job at a time.

 

Lisa Lindsey, M.Ed.

Director of Disability Services