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March Employee of the Month

The Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month all of March. To finish off the month, March’s Employee of the Month is Brianna! Brianna has been successful at her first job because of having a supportive employer who saw her potential. One who was willing to give her an opportunity to work & most of all was willing to learn how to best support Brianna.

Without a willingness to learn about Brianna’s skills and abilities, Brianna’s success would not have been possible. Fortunately for Brianna, the manager of Wings and Rings was very willing to learn about how she communicates & what she had to offer. This allowed Brianna to feel comfortable in communicating in her own way so that she could complete her job tasks. We all know that communication is key to being successful at a job but how we communicate can vary. For Brianna, it is has been with a tablet and having printed lists to point to allowing her to ask for more supplies, answer questions and communicate with her coworkers and supervisor. An additional support has been the use of a vibrating alarm watch, which helps identify breaks and the end of her shift. This has helped Brianna continue to build her independence in her position.

Having a strong advocate, her mother-Jenn, to explain things more in depth to job coaches and Brianna’s coworkers has allowed those working with Brianna to better understand how she learns. Providing that information that Brianna is not able to verbalize helped her team create the supports needed to complete her work.

Jenn shared that she expressed her appreciation of the opportunity given to Brianna by Wings & Rings. In response, Brianna’s manager Adam informed Jenn that, “Wings and Rings gave Brianna the opportunity but Brianna made herself one of us.” Adam also shared that he is proud of Brianna’s accomplishments, as she has exceeded her job expectations. Capabilities Job Coach Melissa Keller and Adam both shared that Brianna has adapted to changes in job tasks to meet the needs of the restaurant, and has increased her speed and efficiency so much so that she may run out of food items to portion during her shifts.

With family support, use of technology & visual aids, job coaching, and most importantly an employer & coworkers interested in learning what supports are needed, Brianna has felt comfortable showing what she can do. She has also provided the chance for her coworkers and managers to learn more about the potential of individuals with different abilities and different ways to support them.

The willingness of Wings and Rings to take the time to get to know Brianna, learn how to best communicate with her, understand how she best learns, identify her strengths and provide her with job tasks matching those strengths is what supported employment is all about. The combination of these has made Brianna’s first year at her job a positive experience & has set her up for continued success.


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