Success Story: Samantha
Samantha attended high school in North Dakota and was on an Individualized Education Plan. After graduation, she moved to South Dakota to be closer to her mom and other relatives.
Samantha has intellectual disabilities, which impact interpersonal and communication skills as well as self-care, self-direction and work tolerance. Her work experience during high school was very limited, and when she applied for services through the Division of Rehabilitation Services and was found eligible, she had less than one month’s work experience.
Samantha grew up in a difficult home situation with family members’ involvement with alcoholism. When she applied for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, she showed no interest in any hobbies. However, she expressed an interest in working with children, and she also expressed interest in working in the cosmetology field.
VR provided guidance and counseling, employment follow-along services, on-the-job training, situational assessment, job-placement services and “Top 20 Teens Training.” Top 20 Teen Training is a person-centered approach to learning communications skills, developing self-advocacy skills, and identifying and addressing motivation and the willingness to change one’s quality of life. VR also provided assistance in the area of acquiring needed clothing for employment and transportation to and from work.
Through Aspire (a community support provider) she receives long-term supports, e.g., supervised housing and payee services. Aspire also assisted in providing situational assessments, job placement and employment follow-along services.
Samantha is currently working at Revive Day Spa 15 to 25 hours a week, and she is earning $7.75 an hour.
Since receiving services through VR and Aspire, Samantha has excelled in different areas of her life. She is now living independently with some support, enjoys her chosen employment and has gained respect in her work environment. She has become a valued member of the wider community and contributor to the community’s overall success.