“Security is having a job. However, systemic barriers continue to keep many people with disabilities unemployed.” – The Council of Canadians with Disabilities
Robert is empathetic, caring and always ready to encourage those around him, but behind his kindness is a history of difficulty and loss. Robert struggles with the communication issues characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the stigma attached that makes it difficult for people with this neurological disorder to find meaningful work.
When he was just 21 years old, Robert’s mother tragically lost her battle with cancer and he lost the unconditional love of a parent. He had no work experience, no guidance, and no idea what he wanted to do with his life.
Through JVS Toronto’s ASD Job Readiness Program, Robert learned about communication skills, workplace behaviour, and how to self-advocate. Even while dealing with his own grief, Robert always made time to encourage and support his fellow participants. In his one-on-one counselling sessions, he explored his interests and strengths, and discovered he had a natural passion for helping others. He decided to turn that passion into a career as an American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter to help other people with disabilities.
Through the guidance of the ASD Job Readiness Program, Robert built his interpersonal skills and learned to cope with difficult situations. He was recently accepted to George Brown College’s ASL and Deaf Studies program and looks forward to starting school with newfound confidence and the ability to advocate for himself.