I know the months have flown by and I left the Independent Living Skills series after we had the Christmas party. I meant to update the series as soon as I graduated, however life got in the way.
Let’s go back to December-Christmas break was a fun time and it was a time to get some rest. I got new glasses that has improved my vision somewhat. The issue is I am having problems with the glasses. My glasses need to be adjusted quite often because the lenses are so heavy that they fall down my nose. I know next time I get glasses I need to get metal frames instead of plastic ones. I know that I need to get rectangular frames because I can see further out. Currently I keep getting my glasses adjusted and I am doing the best I can with the vision I have.
When I went back to the training center my focus was on improving my cooking skills instead of my Orientation and Mobility Skills. My teacher, a few of my classmates and I enjoyed our cooking lessons. I learned how to cook and bake things such as baked vegetables, chocolate chip cookies, and banana pudding, etc. My cooking skills improved and I began cooking more meals on my own.
Since my time at the training center was limited by my Individualized Employment Plan. Which is a plan that outlines the skills to live independently which could rang anything from being able to cook a simple meal to finding employment. My main concern was learning how to use the local bus system rather than the disability bus. In fact, before I was accepted into the school, I had to write to the head of the department stating why I needed to appeal my caseworker’s denial for training. One of the reasons I wrote in the letter was the need to learn the local bus system so I could be independent while out in the community because our local disability bus is not reliable. On the last day of classes I asked the head teacher and my orientation and mobility teachers about teaching me the bus system. They said they couldn’t teach me because we had already learned some basics about the bus system and because that I am able to take the disability bus. Lastly, we were just out of time.
I did have one lesson on how to read the bus schedule and the layout of the bus station, however I wanted to learn how to actually take the bus for added security in case the disability bus failed to show, etc. I know that many of you probably are shocked that I did not fight for more training. The day this all happened I tried to stand up for myself. I explained why I wanted to learn the bus. I ran out of time, and it was not worth fighting for.
The last class was a sad one because I felt like my teachers were disappointed in the fact that my Vocational Rehabilitation caseworker and I were going to focus our energy on self-employment rather than community placement. I know that there is a lot of fears when it comes to self-employment.
I was going to miss my friends from school. Despite all this my grandpa and I enjoyed the smores I made in class that day.
The next week I received a letter from my caseworker that read:
I am writing to inform you that your case will be closed in the next 30 days for the following reason:
As we discussed on 3/15/2019, you agreed that you have received the services requested and have been unable to yet attain an employment outcome.
If you would like to discuss this issue or you would like your case to remain open so that you may pursue employment-based activities, please contact me prior to 4/15/2019. If I do not hear from you by that time, I will assume you are in agreement and will processed with closure.
I wish you good luck and continued success.
The next week I received a letter from the training center signed by the head teacher that read:
I am writing to inform you that your case is now closed at (name of blind training center). We are pleased that you have completed your goals. You were a good student, and it was a pleasure working with you. We are very proud of your accomplishments. We wish you lot of luck in your career development. Enclosed you will find your certificates of your completion.
I know that many of you are probably feeling shocked that I did not fight for more time to keep my case open with my caseworker. I knew it was time to move on from the services that the organization provides. I have worked with many job coaches, including the employment coach that worked with my caseworker. These job coaches have yet to find me any solid leads because of my lack of a driver’s license and reliable public transportation. I have looked for employment for five and a half years.
Despite the organization closing my case I am still receiving support from another organization called Vocational Rehabilitation. This is due to my vision and other disabilities that I have. Vocational Rehabilitation can provide the same set of services that my other caseworker was doing. Right now, I am working with a caseworker to help me launch a successful business. I am currently working on a Nystagmus related product that I believe will benefit parents who have children with Nystagmus.
I am thankful for the support that my caseworker and school have provided me. I will continue to work with my Vocational Rehabilitation caseworker to achieve my goals and dreams of travel and self-employment because I believe in more movement, patience and positivity!