The Arc of Northern Virginia leverages our strategic Tech for Independent Living program to use our Arc2Independence app, which provides customizable Travel, Employment, Safety, and Daily Living Lessons for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This award-winning innovative program enables people with disabilities to achieve more independent lives in the community. Many jobs involve specific tasks, and using our app, individuals with IDD can request and create their own customized, step-by-step Employment Lessons to help them complete these tasks.
Michael C. and his son Marcos first learned about our Tech for Independent Living program last summer after Marcos’ case manager recommended it to them. Marcos is employed at a grocery store, however, because he was experiencing challenges with appropriate communication, both with customers and his colleagues, he was struggling to find the motivation to work hard.
When we began serving Marcos through our Tech for Independent Living program, we met with his full circle of support, including his parents, job coach, case manager, and the manager at the grocery store where he works. Each member of Marcos’ circle was able to provide a unique perspective on his responsibilities and skills in the workplace. Using these key perspectives, along with ideas provided by Marcos himself, we created a catalog of customized Employment Lessons that specifically addressed the challenges that were hindering him from being a successful employee.
Now, one year later, Marcos is thriving in his role at the grocery store, and he was even able to successfully adjust to having a new manager with the help of his customized Employment Lessons. Marcos and his father review his lessons in the evening before each of his shifts so he feels fully prepared for work every day. And, Marcos consistently requests new lessons related to employment, along with Daily Living Lessons that help him feel equipped for his job.
For example, Marcos recognized that he needed to have a clean, work-appropriate haircut, so we created a “Going to the Hair Salon” lesson to equip him to independently request the hairstyle that he wanted. In his own words, Marcos shared, “The lessons and videos have helped me a lot as I work on the everyday behavioral skills that I need to be a better coworker.”