A Man’s Journey to Independence
At 18 months old, Kevin was diagnosed with autism. His mother was told that he would never be able to support himself or be independent. Determined to prove the prognosis wrong and give her son every opportunity, she began looking for programs to help her son succeed. She enrolled Kevin in public school as well as different support programs, but Kevin still struggled socially in school. “I first realized I was different from other kids when I was in elementary school,” Kevin says. Kevin had difficulty attuning to and understanding nonverbal cues, which made communication difficult. “It was hard sometimes because my autism makes it tough for me to chat with people, and I didn’t always know how I was doing,” he says. Despite these challenges, Kevin persevered through his formative years and graduated high school.
After high school Kevin held a few part time jobs, but what he really wanted was full time employment. That is when Kevin found ServiceSource. ServiceSource is a non-profit disability resource organization that provides a range of customized programs and supports for individuals with disabilities and their families, from employment and job placement to training, habilitation and housing. ServiceSource’s autism program provides specialized supports for individuals like Kevin who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Kevin was matched with a job coach at ServiceSource who helped him apply for jobs, practice understanding social cues and nonverbal communication, and prepare with mock interviews to help coach him through the process. Kevin’s job coach helped him enhance his best qualities and show employers how valuable he would be on any team.
With the help of ServiceSource, Kevin obtained a job as a full-time file clerk with MG-IP, a Virginia-based law firm; he was one of over 100 applicants. Kevin is entrusted to manage the firm’s 7,000 patent law files. His photographic memory helps him remember exactly where each file is located and retrieve them quickly. With his new job, Kevin was able to purchase his own condo within walking distance of his office and now lives on his own. Because ServiceSource helped Kevin sharpen the skills he already possessed, he is earning a salary with annual raises and has a 401k; impressive for any man his age.
Kevin is thriving in his job. Against all odds he is living independently and is able to pursue his passions. He is an avid football fan and airplane buff. His favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys from his native Texas. Kevin has his eye on one day retiring in Texas and opening an airplane hobby shop.