Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Special Employees on the Job

Barbara Bensoussan

Despite what people may think, individuals with developmental disabilities have a lot to offer in a work setting. And a regular job gives them the means to make money, and contribute to society — and a priceless chance at fulfillment.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

iconshj Nobody quite knew what to do with Yaakov.

Already in his early 20s, he could easily fall through the cracks: developmentally delayed but high functioning, with emotional issues that impeded his integration into constructive activities.

“We couldn’t pull him out of bed,” says Suri Englard, director of Day Services at HASC. “He’d sleep till three in the afternoon, then wake up with tons of energy that he often used to bother other people. We’d tried putting him in day programs, but nothing worked out.”

Yaakov had shown interest in computers, so HASC staff decided to enroll him in a six-week computer course offered by COJO (the Council of Jewish Organizations). To their surprise, he went religiously and even did all the homework.

“One day the teacher had to leave class early, and he put Yaakov in charge!” exclaims Suri.

“We wanted to keep the momentum,” she continues. “So we invented a job for him at the agency, asking him to create a sort of computer inventory of our supplies. It worked so well that now he’s been employed for eight months by a hospital at one of their offsite offices, doing filing and office work on the computer. He’s usually on time, he dresses himself, and best of all, he’s happy. He feels fulfilled — he feels that he’s like everyone else.”

Many of us derive satisfaction, self-esteem, and a sense of identity through the work we do, whether it’s inside or outside the home (or both). People with developmental and/or emotional disabilities are no different; they also want to contribute to society and enjoy the social milieu a job often provides. “A job changes everything for them,” Suri says. “It produces a ripple effect that makes other aspects of their lives better.”

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you