I am very proud to have a real job which I always try to do to the best of my ability. Having a job is an important part of my life and of who I am in my community. I love to be part of a team; I also like to keep busy and to be helpful, as well as meeting new people and making new friends. I travel to work independently on the bus, enjoy a morning coffee at the café near work and it’s great to take part in our staff functions. My employers are very supportive and encouraging and I know if I have any concerns that they are there to help me.
I currently work part time in office administration at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School. My first position as a part time office assistant was in an accountancy firm for six and a half years. Unfortunately, when the company was sold I no longer had that position. I was very distressed when I lost my job but mum supported me. We investigated many other options such as returning to TAFE to attend adult literacy and computer classes for students with a disability, personal development programmes, working with a psychologist on problem solving strategies and work experience opportunities.
It is not easy to gain a position and I have been fortunate to have support from my parents and through family contacts as well as through the organisations we have worked with. You must not give up but keep trying, be patient and tolerant. It is necessary to have good communication with your employer so that the appropriate supports and modifications can be made and when problems arise they can be worked through and overcome.
Because my job means so much to me, I know I must work hard to be the valued employee that I want to be. It is important to be organised and to listen carefully and to be aware and understanding of others as well as speaking up about your own needs.
Keep trying, because trying is what counts.
Read more about DSA’s position on employment for people with Down syndrome.