I have much to write about, ..... including birthdays (Nevin is now 18 and Nolan is 21); a trip to Oshkosh for hockey, Packers, birthday party and fun!; snow and more snow!; our visit tomorrow to Goodwill for a meet/greet and tour; Nevin has a new penpal that he is excited about; working on obtaining guardianship of Nevin; .................... so, let's see, what should I write about ........ hmmm.......
The winner is: our meeting tomorrow at Goodwill. Some of you may know that Nevin and I have been pursuing support so that he can get a job. We're thinking something for 2-4 hours per week. And of course his dream job is working at Chuckie Cheese's like his big brother Nolan. So we've been in contact with Voc Rehab to see what he would qualify for.
Meeting #1: we were told this was an absolute requirement to start the process. So Nevin and I attended a session with about 8 other adults who had very little in common with Nevin. At the end of the session the presenter pulled us aside and said "basically, everything that I covered today has nothing to do you (Nevin)"...... "it really would have been better if you had just set up an individual session with a counselor". hmmm....... maybe you should communicate that with the secretary.
Meeting #2: Individual session with counselor. We totally confused the man with our homeschooling. They just don't know what to do with us (no IEP, no behavior plan, no special ed teacher, no transition plan).....at least, no plan written by a "professional", and the information that I brought with us didn't seem to be heard :( After stating that he had never worked with a homeschooled student before, he went on with the "routine" questions.......
Counselor: "Do you drink beer or alcohol?"
Nevin: "no, no beer"
Counselor: "Have you used any illegal drugs, cocaine, heroine, ......"
Nevin: (very demonstratively shaking his head): "no, just Sprite" :)
Counselor: "Do you want to register to vote?"
Nevin: "no thanks, we have a boat" :)
The counselor went on to explain that most kids who've been homeschooled have behavior issues when they start work programs and so it would be best to have him attend Goodwill, 5 full days/week for 9 weeks for a vocational assessment. (hmmm....... I thought he said, he'd never worked with a homeschooled student before!). I was horrified that because we're interested in 2-4 hours a week of working with maybe a job shadow....... they need 270 hours worth of assessment!! I think he sensed my "hesitation" and stated...... we'll discuss it further at our next meeting. First he needed do the official paperwork to "qualify" Nevin for services.
Meeting #3: (armed with my new information from our case worker, that Nevin would qualify for an "On-site" assessment at a job location). Counselor informs us that Nevin qualifies. And that he still recommends Goodwill assessment. I state that we would prefer an on-site assessment. He looks surprised and then states that because Nevin has been homeschooled we need to work him back into the "real world" gradually. He thinks we could probably work out a flexible schedule for the Goodwill assessment....... maybe three days a week, or half days..... maybe just for six weeks.
WHAT?!! work him back into the "real world"......... oh, that's right........ we've been keeping him in a cave here at our homeschool....... NOT!! he lost me at that point.
At that point Nevin said, "I wanna work Chuckie Cheese".
Mr. Counselor, leaned over the desk and in a condescending voice said to Nevin, "you can't just play at Chuckie Cheese's".
Nevin: (with a very disgusted look): "No! not play...... WORK! you know.... vacuum, clean tables, dishes,..... .... work!"
I'm thinking "way to go Nevin!!" Mr. Counselor had a surprised look on his face, but still didn't back down. He said, maybe, AFTER Goodwill assessment, we could think about an on-site assessment. Then...... I think seeing my resistance, he suggested we just do a meet/greet and tour of Goodwill.
So..... I don't want to not explore all our options just because Mr. Counselor is ignorant. So I will give Goodwill a chance. So tomorrow, we go for the tour. Maybe they are wonderful people and we'll be impressed with their program. I need to get my questions written down.... and try and get my emotions in check! Kevin's hours have changed so he will have tomorrow off and be able to go with Nevin and I. Yippee!! That should help both in dealing with Mr. Ignorant Counselor and with being able to process together and make decisions after our tour.
Sooo....... we'll keep you posted!