A major component of the support members receive from the PIN team is to find and keep jobs. Bernadette Shallow, the PIN Career Navigator, began working with PIN in October of 2016. She works collaboratively with the entire team to assist PIN members to develop strategies and accommodations on the job that support learning, and continued success. Some of the PIN members share what tools and support strategies are most helpful on the job.
When I first started my job working the front desk at LA Fitness, the Career Navigator at PIN, Bernadette, created a reference packet of pictures and directions to help assist me with various tasks that I do at work. Over time I have learned how to do most of these tasks on my own, but I still keep the packet with me and use it every once in a while when I need a refresher.
Teaching was the last job I ever thought I would have. I decided to give it a try when I was asked to teach kids how to draw anime and manga characters, because I wanted to pass on the joy of art. Many of the students have learning disabilities, so as the teacher, I had to learn about what works for each student. Since I had never done any lesson planning, I had no idea where to begin. I met with the PIN team to research lesson ideas online. I decided to focus on one aspect or characteristic (ex. eyes, hair, body parts, background, etc.) each week to break the lessons down into smaller steps and pieces. I also used some of my art books to identify visual examples. At first, I worked with the PIN team to make lesson outlines, scripts, and timing. I never believed I would be able to make a career out of my hobby!
I use several tools at work that help me be successful. When I first started my job the Career Navigator, Bernadette, made me a morning check list so I would remember what to do each morning I got into work. This checklist was very helpful in the beginning, and now I have my routine memorized, and I no longer need the list. Another tool I
use is when I record the attendance in the morning I use two rulers to help me focus on one column at a time so I do not lose my place. Lastly, when I feel overwhelmed about something at work I sometimes take a quick break, take out my notepad and pen, then write down my thoughts. This helps me to be able to think more clearly. I also use this tool when I have down time in work to prevent me from becoming bored.
Natural supports through my coworkers and supervisors are what help me to be successful on the job. I work two jobs, Villanova Dining Services during the school year and Wawa during the summer. Both of these work places are teamwork environments that work great for me. I am not afraid to ask for help, and my coworkers are always willing to offer help.