I’m Rachel, Sarah’s residential and job coach… I prefer the term friend, though! I’ve been with Sarah for almost 4 years as a job coach (assisting Sarah with her publishing/ blogging/ social media/ other behind the scenes stuff), and then 3 years as a residential coach (work in the home on life skills, getting out into the community, future planning with the family, etc.)
I was an early childhood educator and have worked for over 7 years with another organization with younger people with disabilities. Personally, I have a son with medically complex special needs. I thought I knew a little something about disabilities/autism, that is, until I started working with Sarah.
She blew away all my preconceived ideas about a non-verbal person with autism. To be quite honest, in the past, I may have seen a person who was unable to speak and ASSUMED that there must not be a whole lot going on inside their mind. Sarah has shown me that that is absolutely not the case. What is inside her mind is brilliant, wise, kind, loving and full of faith.
Sarah loves to sit in the kitchen booth and listen as her mom and I talk about all kinds of things – current events, future plans, fears, exciting news, just everything. Often we will ask Sarah to type what she thinks and would like to “say” about what we’re talking about. Every time she types, it surprises and amazes me with her wisdom on a situation, and her unique way of saying it. (If you’ve ever noticed, the way she talks is a bit different than how we might… “Pleased to…”, etc.)
She makes her own decisions about where she’d like to go on outings, what she’d like to do together, she offers advice on situations, and her personal mission is to let everyone know that people with disabilities are real people worth knowing and learning from. Her writings, blog posts, and books are all full of her special insight.
I hope you’ll learn as much from her as I have!