Monday, 21 March 2016

21 people with Down syndrome at work - 21 different jobs (21)

Day 21
After a long and fulfilling working life, comes retirement - a relatively new stage for many people with Down syndrome, and steps are being taken to support them to manage the transition from work. We wish Shelli Fanning and others retiring soon, a happy time doing more things that they enjoy as they grow older.

Scott Hewitt, The Columbian, 11 January 2014
Shelli Fanning, 46, worked as housekeeper at Red Lion at the Quay for 23 years ...  It took some time and on-the-job testing to figure out what was easy for Shelli and what required more training and practice, and to set a reasonable number of work hours (not quite 20) per week. But to say that Shelli was coddled or that her work wasn’t valuable is absolutely untrue, according to Red Lion General Manager Paul Thornton ...

The 21 people with Down syndrome at work - 21 different jobs posts have been compiled into a single page, linked in the list just under the banner at the top of this screen. 

It was remarkably easy to find 21 different people with Down syndrome doing 21 different jobs, most of them highlighted in the mainstream media - that might not seem to be such a big deal, given the enormous number of jobs in existence, and the ubiquity of social media that allows us to share them, but it is a very significant change in the space of just two generations. 

And we know of people working in many different fields - farming, all areas of hospitality, as teachers' assistants, in many retail settings, in factories, in different clerical roles, all aspects of the arts to name a few. Some people have had several jobs, others have worked for long periods in one job, some work at several jobs at the same time, stitching together a full-tme working life.

Few of them are working without support, but we started with the concept of the We can work with the right support campaign and close this current series with the same thought. It can be seen from these twenty one examples, that tapping into each person's interests and talents and providing support where needed can lead to very satisfactory employment experiences for employes with Down syndrome and their employers.

There is still a long way to go for many people with Down syndrome who want to work, those who can employ them and those who can support them, but they are showing us how it's done.

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