I want to thank you so much for all the help and support my daughter received since Work Opportunities Unlimited/Independence Works took over her case. What an amazing and impressive agency from the initial intake and meeting with Sue and Maureen, the job preparation and practice, the practice interview with Publix and then the job offer, the support with orientation and training- then the care Carla has provided with job support, help with the transfer and continuing the support post-contract to ensure she was comfortable in her new placement. Incredible and life-changing are the thoughts that come to my mind.
The special strength of WOU (which stands out most in my mind) is that my daughter received the attention and care that made her (and me) feel like we were important from the comprehensive intake assessment which focused on my daughter’s career goals to job placement in a position that aligned with those goals. From that first meeting, we knew something was different about WOU, and we continue to be impressed by the professionalism and support provided. I believe WOU is an excellent “best practices” model for the way things should be.
It has been a long road for us, as my daughter has had some negative experiences before WOU took over. As a Mother and Clinician, I know how difficult transition post-high school is and continues to be for individuals with disabilities. I have worked with many young adults who presented with depression and anxiety because they did not have life skills, vocational skills, the right support and guidance, etc. It is, in my opinion, unfair that as a community we have so many supports for our children when they are in the school system, but relatively few once they leave. It is sad to see what happens to many young adults as a result.
I don’t know if you work with many high-functioning individuals, but I do know that the comprehensive job preparation Maureen did with my daughter, is one of the key components that individuals with high functioning ASD desperately need. Another area is in the life-skills category which, as you know, is in the large part, parent education. I would like to see this component written into the IEP as the “life skill component”… sorry, I digress here… so much to say…
I am so grateful to Sue, Maureen and Carla for everything they have done, and I would not hesitate to send anyone in need of services, to Work Opportunities Unlimited/Independence Works. It really does take a village and I am hopeful that others may follow in my daughter’s footsteps. Your wonderful team coupled with the kindness of Mr. Clayton (manager of Publix) for giving her a chance, has left me feeling hopeful, encouraged and lucky.
Thanks again for everything you have done for my daughter and for me.