January 23, 2008

Goodwill visit

Overall, our Goodwill visit went well.   The facility is nice with many different jobs (stations related to different work contracts) and may be something that we would be interested in at some point.   

It IS confusing for everyone because since we homeschool, the "system" doesn't know what to do with us.  And even IF Nevin were in school, he probably wouldn't be doing this Goodwill assessment until his last semester (before graduation).  Which in the public school setting would be three years from this spring.  So, I may have jumped the gun a little by involving Voc Rehab.  But, in all actuality, we are on the mark with starting to think about getting some work experience and building independent job skills.  My intention was to see if there was anything that Voc Rehab had to offer to us....... but it appears to be an all or nothing package.   And it appears that it may be something we consider later....... like in 2-3 years.

The hardest part about the meeting was watching Nevin struggle so much with conversation. Unless the conversation is about things Nevin is very familiar with he just can't handle question/answer type dialog.  I'm sure he didn't understand much of what we were all talking about.  They were very respectful and very much treated him like an adult and thus directed their explanations and questions directly to him.  Unless I had "intervened as an interpreter", so to speak, neither party would have understood what the other one was saying.   I always wonder if I should be backing off more, if  Nevin relies too much on me for conversation interpretation.  (I'm sure that's what all the "caring professionals" in the meeting probably thought)  I wonder if we need to seek more support (i.e. speech/language therapy) to help us.  Or is this just related to his cognitive processing?  I just know that my heart hurts the most when I think of Nevin's struggles with understanding what's being said and being understood when he speaks.

So, as we've always done.  We press on to figure out how best to provide support for Nevin as he continues to learn and grow.   Their recommendation was to connect with the school system and see if they have anything to offer to us.  I will.  And I will learn from it.  I've visited before and I learn both about things that we are doing very well and about a few things that we could work a little more on.  I think maybe I might visit several schools, to see what they have to offer.  I love learning from others and then modifying/personalizing it to meet Nevin's needs.

Last time I visited school, I learned that we are doing just fine at home.  I think Nevin learns better in the environment in which he will function in.  The things they were doing, were being done in an artificial environment (e.g. 2 field trips/yr, as a group to the public library vs. Nevin's weekly trips to the public library where he has learned to find his favorite books, manage his library card, check them out independently and wait for me by the front door) (e.g. double PE class, one for PE and one class period for learning to shower independently, etc. vs. Nevin's increasing independence accessing the pool, lockers and padlocks, showers, membership card, etc. at both the YMCA and the Rockwell Rec Center.)

My own assignment for myself is to pursue a part-time volunteer job for Nevin.  hmmm.... maybe cleaning the library at our church once a week, or something like that.  Kevin and I both walked away feeling that our best bet is to "do it ourselves", i.e. continue to homeschool our way through job preparation, job training and job experience....... albeit, probably all volunteer work.   But volunteer work is a good life lesson as well.

It does get a bit crazy sometimes, trying to mesh support services (SCL, respite, etc.) available from "the system" with our  homeschooling.   But, experience says....... keep on, keepin' on.  :)


Amy said...

It looks like it has been good to get the feel of what will be expected in a few years. My dd also functions better in her "groove" - what she knows.

I so appreciate you sharing your experiences with us through the years. I will travel a similar path with the knowledge of your struggles & joys. Thank you!

New Teaching Mom said...

"I just know that my heart hurts the most when I think of Nevin's struggles with understanding what's being said and being understood when he speaks."
I know exactly what you mean by this Laurie. My heart aches at this too. Like Amy said, we are so thankful to have you and to learn from your experiences.