This year I have had the opportunity to work as a job coach with a student at the Essex County Family and Probate Court through the Paralegal Assistant Training Program (PLAT) offered by the Autism Higher Education Foundation. At his internship, my student sorts, organizes, and scans files, inputs data into their computer system, and learns various other office skills. He also has the chance to learn and practice the social skills that go along with working in an office setting.
This opportunity has been a great fit for my student. He looks forward to going to his internship every week and comes to school dressed in work appropriate clothing. He has become more responsible about meeting me at the correct time and making sure he has the items he needs to bring with him. He greets the employees of the court that he knows every week independently, which is something that has been a challenge for him in the past.
My student’s work performance, focus, confidence, and social skills have all improved since beginning his internship, but what is also important is that he truly enjoys his job at the court and feels like he part of the team. When I recently asked him to fill out a job satisfaction survey, he rated his overall job satisfaction as “very satisfying, ” and when asked to comment further he wrote “I feel very excited about my jobl”
The Autism Higher Education Foundation PLAT Program and the Essex County Family and Probate Court have done an excellent job creating a fulfilling, educational internship and a welcoming work environment. I am happy to have the opportunity to participate with my student and hope that many other students and educators have the same opportunity in the future.
Transition Support Instructor,