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Irene's Story


"It is good to be paid well and respected"

Like many young adults with autism, Irene was struggling to find her way in the world. She yearned to be more independent and connect with others, but she lacked the social skills and confidence to pursue her dreams -- the biggest of which was to find a satisfying job.

“I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere,” recalls Irene, who has Asperger syndrome. “I didn’t feel like I was so important.”

But all of that changed after Irene turned to Easterseals for guidance with defining her employment goals, developing her skills and searching for a job that suited her interests and abilities.

“Easterseals prepared me and took me on many interviews,” she says.

Irene’s persistence paid off when she was offered a position as an accounting clerk with Ride-Away Equipment, a company that provides mobility products, wheelchair accessible vans and services for people with disabilities. Her job responsibilities include data entry, filing, copying, printing, shredding and more; plus she has taken on new responsibilities and been willing to learn new skills.

Kathy Kittle, Ride-Away chief financial officer, says, “We noticed right away that she was talented. She is a very strong worker with a very strong work ethic.

Irene says, “It is good to be paid well and respected. It makes me feel important to the company and important even as an individual, and makes me feel I have strengths and that … I’m a very valuable person.”

Now with renewed confidence, Irene is thriving in countless ways. She’s lost 60 pounds by eating better and getting more exercise. She’s also been learning to cook, has joined a photography club, and enjoys regular social outings and a monthly support group.

“These activities help me be more articulate, more outgoing and more mindful of the feelings of others,” she says.

Sue Silsby, Easterseals senior vice president, says, “Irene exemplifies Easterseals’ spirit of believing that with hard work, dedication and the right support, anything is possible.”

Easterseals Workforce Development Services provide an individualized approach to helping persons with disabilities reach their employment goals. Contact Easterseals to learn more about Easterseals Workforce Development Services in your area.

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