A Young Man Finding His Voice

by Will Espinoza | December 15, 2017

When Christopher first came to Catholic Charities he relied on a Dynavox speech device and sign language to communicate with others. After he was paired with his current employment specialist from the Kennedy Institute, Christopher was overheard talking to himself in very clear, understandable, full sentences. Knowing that communicating verbally could open more doors for Christopher, his employment specialist worked with his parents, brother, and sister to develop a plan to eliminate the speech device, and become less reliant on sign language.

As the plan was put into action, Christopher’s family and employment specialist were thrilled to see the progress he was making. In the beginning, the Montgomery County Employment Program provided supported employment services and coached him to complete his duties that required verbal interactions.

As his confidence grew, and he used his verbal skills more and more, growth opportunities began to present themselves. He began helping lifeguards at the Rockville Municipal Swim Center teach the 4 – 6-year-old swimming class, he then transitioned over to volunteering with an adult day care agency that serves individuals with Alzheimer’s, where his kindness and hard work were greatly appreciated.

Today, Christopher continues to receive supported employment job A coaching services from Kennedy Institute and has achieved total success in communicating verbally. He is a full-time, fully-benefitted federal employee at the NSA Bethesda Naval Base supporting the veterinary division. This past April, Christopher received the Maryland Association of Community Services Achievement Award for his professional accomplishments.