Jose has participated in AbilityFirst programs since he was six years old and now at the age of 22, he has grown alongside the organization, transitioning from the Afterschool program into ExploreAbility.
From the beginning, Jose faced the challenge of becoming more independent with several daily tasks, but one task in particular made him anxious – ordering his own meal at a restaurant. Despite the support from both family and the AbilityFirst staff, the numerous options on the menu would often leave him feeling uncertain.
The goal was clear: to empower Jose with the skills needed for greater independence, reducing the need for assistance. As the staff worked closely with Jose and the years went by, positive changes started to unfold. Jose’s mother shares, “I would ask my son everyday how his day went, and he would share stories of being out in the community, volunteering at the local food bank, and visiting the school campus.” She knew that Jose was becoming comfortable, and that was translating into confidence and progress.
One major milestone was seen during a family visit to IHOP. With his newfound confidence, Jose independently ordered his own food and responded to the waiter’s inquiries. The pride and joy on his face was unmistakable and the family all celebrated together with cheers and high fives. This experience marked a turning point in Jose’s abilities, as he was navigating social situations with more ease.
Jose’s mom shares, “We thank AbilityFirst Explorability for all the support you are giving to Jose!”