Donald's New Venture
Donald Kent is one of the individuals who we support at New Ridgepark, our bespoke transition service. We first spoke about Donald on our blog last yearwhen we shared what great progress he was making at New Ridgepark after he moved there from New Struan School in 2013. Now, Donald has taken on a new venture working in Cafe Kudos, our vocational day service in Carluke, and has really flourished in terms of his independence and confidence. He has a sense of pride in his job and really looks forward to his days at work.
When Donald first communicated to us that he wanted to start working at Cafe Kudos we decided that this is something he should be introduced to gradually, beginning with one hour and building on that each week. The reason for this is that Donald can become overwhelmed by new environments, new people and tasks, and dealing with strangers. So we took it slow, allowing him to find his feet at his own pace.
On his first day, Donald was given a social story which explained to him every step of his day, from walking to the bus stop to what he would be doing when he got home after work. This gave Donald a good understanding of what was expected of him and how the day would progress, meaning there were no surprises and that his first day went extremely smoothly. He got involved in lots of different tasks within the cafe, including setting tables, taking orders and serving customers their meals. Afterwards he was eager to return.
Over the course of a few months Donald gradually built up the time that he spent in the cafe and in November last year told his support staff how much he enjoyed working in the cafe to which they asked if we would like to do two days a week instead of just one. The response was a clear and enthusiastic yes!
Through taking on this new role Donald has learned lots of new skills, such as using the coffee machine, operating the till with some verbal assistance and taking money and giving change. Although he does require some support during his time at work, Donald has achieved a great level of understanding and independence, often using his own initiative to clear tables when customers leave, take dishes to the kitchen and load up the dishwasher.
For many individuals with autism, like Donald, finding and keeping a job can be difficult. Our vocational day services offer individual’s meaningful training opportunities and the chance to develop work skills in a safe environment, allowing them to see first-hand the value of the work they carry out. By challenging himself to take on this role, Donald has really increased his confidence. He feels a sense of pride in his work and in what he has achieved, and has become confident in his abilities. He’s also loved showing everyone how much he enjoys his time at the cafe using photographs to communicate this during a recent review meeting.
If you’re ever in the area you can find Cafe Kudos at 5 Union Street, Carluke, ML8 4AG. Donald and the rest of the team would love to have you stop by!