During my time in the Greater Expectations program, I learned many things about perspective, others perspective, and how to tell between the story in my head and reality. But what I learned about myself is I have a hard time with understanding other people’s perspective but I am a good leader/teacher. Some tools I learned to use include checklists, proactive vs. reactive thinking, and the “story in my head” worksheet. The most challenging part of the program was accepting “being different than others.” My favorite part of the program was running the cash register and enjoyed engaging with customers and hearing compliments about Autism Avenue. My daily life is somewhat different now, I do my laundry and my room is cleaner as is the basement. I’m going to be more aware or open minded about other people’s perspectives on things. I would encourage others to participate in the program because it teaches you that what you “don’t like about yourself” or think is a weakness can actually be your strengths!
As a young adult our son was stuck and needed additional encouragement to move forward. We wanted to give him a boost in confidence, and felt this was
the place to begin. His confidence level has grown immensely. He has been given tools to help him work through challenging and frustrating situations. The
program has helped him improve his communication skills, both verbal and no-verbal. This program is needed in our community. As a community we need to
support these young adults, who are on spectrum, transition into adulthood. This program gives them the tools and skills needed to live a productive life.
Ever since the day that I started this program, I've experienced & learned a lot of new skills while working with them. I've learned the difference between who's as Stranger & who's a friend & an acquaintance. I had even improved my communication skills & used the skills that I've learned in the program. Like, thinking on what I need to say before I say it, then not thinking all black n' white & consider the thought of a person's feelings & how they would react to their feature, looks & many more. Becoming an independent person, so that I'll be able to work & take care of myself & start a family. Even getting a job, like sweeping floors, cleaning the flowers, working on the cash register, taking out the trash & many more. I even liked the part when I had to interact with the customers as well. I enjoyed every single second of these moments that I've had with them, and I wished that I can work with them a little longer. But I can't because I know that I'm done, so I'm happy with the results.
During my time in the program, I learned how to self-regulate better, especially emotional regulation. The tools that I learned to use most were emotional regulation
modifications tools such as self-calming techniques including keeping plenty of gum in my pocket. The most challenging part of the program was learning how to not go from zero to 100 when something would trigger me and I wanted to get upset. Now, I don’t even have to focus on it! My favorite part of the program was learning that I could do more than just cleaning. Working at Autism Avenue taught me some skills such as interpersonal skills that I now use at
Dillons. And therefore, I have learned empathy for others instead of looking down on others. I am now happier in my daily life since completing the program because the staff worked with me to know how to lower my stress and “leave work, at work.” I would encourage others to participate in the program because they will gain more than they can imagine and if they don’t their life will stay in a constant loop.
Our special needs daughter started the Greater Expectations Program over a year ago. We cannot express how wonderful the program has been for her. Her job & socials skills have grown tremendously. The women who run the program are amazing. We highly recommend the program to anyone who is interested!
As we are now in Autism Awareness Month, the spectrum is an area that should have more light shed upon it. As someone who is on the spectrum, it is my duty to advocate for myself and for peers who have this condition. Being on the spectrum is like being an alien visiting another planet. We have trouble with social skills and emotional connections. We think from the logical side of our brains, instead of from the emotional side. As a result, we often miss social cues and sarcasm. Despite these differences in the way we think, we want the same things as the rest of you. We want relationships, happiness, success, and to have a good life. Although we express them in different ways, we do feel emotions. I am aware there are others in the community on the spectrum, and my advice to them is this: Do not be ashamed of who you are. You can do anything a non-autistic person can do. What seems to be a weakness now will become your greatest strength.
Why did you choose to involve your child in the program?
As a young adult our son was stuck and needed additional encouragement to move forward. We wanted to give him a boost in confidence, and felt this was the place to begin.
What improvements have you seen in your child?
His confidence level has grown immensely. He has been given tools to help him work through challenging and frustrating situations. The program has helped him improve his communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal.
Why would you encourage others to donate to our program?
This program is needed in our community. As a community we need to support these young adults, who are on spectrum, transition into adulthood. This program gives them the tools and skills needed to live a productive life.