Brian participated in ServiceSource Delaware’s FrameWORK for Success school-to-work program, which he entered when he transitioned from Delcastle High School. Brian’s story is one of collaboration and accommodation. It is indicative of ServiceSource Delaware’s mission to deliver exceptional services through innovative training and support.
Brian is a member of the production department packaging team assigned to the assembly of trays of various-sized soil pots. These are to study the effect of agricultural chemicals following application to a given crop or the soil in which the crop is grown. “When working with the larger pots and trays, Brian’s movements are quick and confident,” said Erin Doordan, Employment Development Specialist. “We noticed that he was easily distracted when working with the smaller pots. Brian would frequently stop before a tray was filled or wait for staff to direct him back to the task.”
This was not standard for Brian. After further insight, staff learned Brian was becoming frustrated when placing small pots in the tray slots. The slot opening against the dark table top background provided too little contrast for him to see it clearly. Brian also kept his neck bent in a downward position to focus on the job at hand. This caused discomfort, which he relieved by lifting his head up and looking around; however, the act also made him less productive.
After several brainstorming efforts by staff to improve Brian’s work station, they engineered a solution that worked for him. An elevated, adjustable-tilt tray stand was fabricated by pressure fitting lengths of ¾” PVC piping with several T-elbow and 90◦ fittings and sized to accept a wooden fixture, which had previously been designed to the dimensions of the assembly tray by Concord High School students in an Ability One Challenge. The stand sits atop Brian’s wheelchair tray. A white fabric mat mounted on suction cups and placed under the tray clearly displays the black slots for the pot assembly and prevents it from sliding on the wheelchair tray. As each tray is filled with the appropriate number of pots, Brian can stack it on his work table and continue with the next tray. A table stand that is positioned adjacent to his wheelchair provides an area for enough supplies to enable Brian to function independently for a longer time, allowing Balmer to attend to other duties.
Erin commented, “Brian is now more productive, focused and self-sufficient. That is so important in life. We all want to contribute, to be independent, and to be successful. It cost very little to make these accommodations. But it did take caring, initiative and skill to pull it off.”
Dennis Dapolito, Regional Executive Director noted, “This is what our organization is all about – helping individuals with a disability maximize their potential and be the best they can be. The collaboration and teamwork demonstrated by the team here at ServiceSource Delaware is why we have such a long and successful history of improving the lives of Delawareans with disabilities.”