Creating a path to employment success and independence for adults with autism, and other disabilities, is a difficult task that requires commitment of both a dedicated team and individuals with aspirations to thrive. Joseph Silva, Hand Packager, is committed and determined to give it his all with the aid of his support system.
Joseph came to PRIDE Industries straight out of high school as a transitioning youth on the autism spectrum. Five years later, he sees the positive changes a job has brought to his life, “I was quite self-centered, always cared about me, me, me!” Joseph says. His self-diagnosis of being “self-centered” can be translated to a common autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptom – lack of interest in social interaction. Individuals on the autism spectrum often have a hard time relating to people, including parents, and fail to develop friendships. These symptoms can be referred to as “living in their own world.”
At PRIDE, we have a support system that includes Job Trainers, Case Manager/Counselors, and Supervisors who understand Joseph’s disability and are able to help with his day-to-day challenges. “We have a strong community of people, so it is hard to be isolated,” Thomas Andrews, Joseph’s Case Manager and Counselor, says. “Also, if Joseph is doing something in “his world” this will distract him from his work and a Job Trainer will help him focus.” The ability to focus and complete job duties are few of Joseph’s on-going goals at PRIDE.
Over the years, Joseph has made friends and built a stronger relationship with family. “Now I realize life revolves around people and not just me alone,” Joseph says. Making friends is also a perk of the job; he met his best friend, Ethan, at PRIDE.
Having a job is about more than a paycheck; it improves confidence and self-esteem. Most importantly, it offers an incentive; “My life was empty and pointless because I was lounging around doing nothing, but now I have a purpose,” Joseph says.
At PRIDE, we often use the phrase “the power of purpose.” Through Joseph’s success, we see it in action.