Sundance Therapy provides Vocational Rehabilitation services to our clients. As an Occupational Therapy clinic, we value finding opportunities and empowering people with disabilities to use their abilities to work in paid employment. Here is an interview with Sarah, who found a job at Wag’N’Wash, and her manager, Kim:
How has getting a job at WW changed your life?
- Before I got my job at Wag 'N' Wash, I was really struggling at trying to find a job that I would like. I was stressed and a little depressed because I was sitting at home with nothing to do and with no job. I thought that I would never find a job that I would enjoy. Now that I found Wag 'N' Wash, I am very happy with my life and I feel like I have accomplished a lot in my life. I made new friends with my coworkers and I feel very comfortable with them and my boss. My boss and coworkers encourage me and really make me feel good about the work that I do. They're the reasons why I love working there and why I look forward to coming into work.
What's your favorite part about the job?
- My favorite part about the job is seeing my coworkers every time I come in for my shifts. They are so fun and supportive and I am so blessed to have coworkers who are also my friends.
What is your least favorite part?
- My least favorite part about the job is probably working with the customers. Sometimes they can be rude when there's no need to be.
Have they been accommodating to any support requests?
- I do ask my boss and coworkers for help if I need it. Especially when it comes to answering phone calls.
What was your biggest fear when you were starting at Wag 'N' Wash? Still worry about it?
- My biggest fear was fitting in at Wag 'N' Wash with my coworkers. I was worried that I wouldn't feel comfortable at my new job with new people. I was also worried about working with customers and setting them up for a wash. I didn't have much experience with working with people so I was terrified about that. I'm not worried about fitting in at Wag 'N' Wash anymore because I already do. My coworkers have really made me come out of my shell. Some days, I still worry about working with the customers because of my anxiety.
What advice can you give others who are. Starting a new job?
- The advice I would give them is, don't be nervous about working at Wag 'N' Wash. Everybody is so nice and welcoming to every new coworker. They are so supportive and caring about everyone who works there. Also, Kim is an amazing boss so don't be scared of her, she wants her coworkers to feel comfortable about working with her and other people. For anyone starting any new job, be confident and know that you are a hard worker. Remember, your boss hired you for a reason.
Kim, Sarah’s boss at Wag 'N' Wash:
In three words, describe Sarah.
-Smart, Kind and Sincere.
What are Sarah’s strengths in the workplace?
-Sarah is extremely efficient and thorough. Whether we have a procedure change or maybe really busy in the wash I never have to worry about Sarah cutting corners or slacking off. She is a great example to new and current employees of dedication and work ethic.
How has Sarah influenced the workplace?
-Sarah has made the employees become closer while working together. They become protective of Sarah if there is rude customer or very helpful when she is need. Sarah has also shown the employees that no matter anyone's differences you can still be great at anything you set your mind to.
Are there any changes you or your workplace uses for accommodations?
-When Sarah first started we limited the amount of hours in a day until she got her own flow. We slowly increased hours and days so it did not feel overwhelming. Sarah also had access to another employee who we designated to her for guidance and support when she needed. In the beginning Sarah was scheduled with this other employee for all her shifts to make her comfortable in her job. As we increased hours and days, Sarah's employee support was shortened or not scheduled at all. At this point in her job Sarah can run, open and close the wash by herself. She can handle multiply dogs in the wash and dry station area with ease. There is no difference between Sarah working the wash or another employee. I have full confidence in her.
What advice would you give potential employers about hiring NeurodDiverse employees?
-Be patient. Sarah already had every skill she needed to work here but needed to gain the confidence to do so. Learning something new can sometimes make Sarah uneasy but if you offer her support she is ready to take it on. I have seen Sarah offer to do new things/ tasks because she has gained that confidence. I have gained a wonderful employee on my staff.
This interview sheds much light on what it takes to accept people equally within our community, and some of the positive, uplifting and unexpected outcomes. I have to hand it to Wag’N’Wash, as Kim felt so happy in her own management, that she hired Sarah initially, as a trial, without even a posted position. Kim exemplifies characteristics of a community builder, leader and compassionate human being. Let’s applaud her!
On the other hand, I wanted to put it in writing that a competing business in Parker, CO has declined to work with our population that receive this service. Within a short conversation, the owner reported that they were not willing to make adaptations or even meet any of our clients, based on inconvenience for their time and business in general. I think this is important to let the community know that some businesses do not treat people equally when it comes to disabilities. This is a travesty.
At our clinic, we have helped clients to see and reach their potential. Currently, there is a high turnover rate for counselors at the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in the state of Colorado. This can make things more challenging. We do, however, continue to do our best to work with this state department for the betterment of our clients. If interested in exploring job opportunities, please do not hesitate to ask about enrollment in our program:. 601-493-6968 email@example.com
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