Sam is a very determined young man who has Downs syndrome. He is a whizz with technology and loves to swim and dance!
Sam’s joined ECL 6 years ago when he started the work-based training scheme at ECL Greenacres. Despite gaining catering skills, valuable experience in the Mitie Ready2Work Programme, and completing an employability skills course run by ACL Chelmsford, Sam was struggling to achieve his dream of paid work because his speech and language were letting him down at interviews.
In April this year, with the support of his Inclusive Employment Consultant, Caroline, he worked hard to complete his vocational profile, prepare his CV, research job websites and practice mock interviews. When a paid job opportunity to wash-up and clean 10 hours a week at a Bupa care home arose, Sam was determined to overcome his communication barrier and win the position!
Sam was referred to Jennifer Whittaker, ECL’s Speech and Language Therapist who identified that Sam had difficulty pronouncing certain sounds and lacked confidence in speaking. She introduced several strategies including breathing exercises and ‘tapping or clapping out the words’ in rhythm to slow down his speech and improve articulation.
Sam, Jenny, and Caroline worked together to predict the questions Sam would be asked in his telephone interviews and prepared an Easy-Read script of the answers, using vocabulary that Sam is confident with.
Sam’s hard work and determination paid off and he was delighted to discover he had got the job. Sam commented, “I am very happy and excited; I can now save up for an engagement ring for my girlfriend!”
Caroline added, “we are now supporting Sam with the onboarding process and helping him to brush up his health and safety knowledge - he has already planned his bus route to work!” Caroline will also be his ‘on-the-job’ coach until he is confident in his role.
Jenny and Caroline, keen to ensure Sam has the required communication tools be successful in his new job have secured a grant from The Prince's Trust to provide Sam with an iPod touch installed with a ‘text-to-speech’ app, and a long term loan of an iPad with Pro Lo Quo (a symbol-based communication app) from the Communications Aids Service East of England (CASEE). Jenny added “Sam’s incredible progress has been down to his sheer determination and willingness to try new communication techniques and technology”
Sam’s next goal is to move out of the family home into supported accommodation where he can live with friends and be more independent.