Richard began TAP services his senior year at Cedar Falls High School with eligibility based on his learning disability. He waited until he turned 18 years old so he could apply for services on his own. He has no parental support, in fact his father moved to Chicago and left him behind. His mother has never been in the picture, so Richard technically lived with his grandparents in Waterloo. This was not convenient for Richard, who needed to get to work and school. He usually lived with a friend in Cedar Falls, where no adults lived in the home. Richard managed to get to school and work while basically living independently as a teenager. Richard did not have his driver’s permit, and was therefore dependent upon his friends for transportation. The TAP program worked with Richard to study for his driver’s permit and took him to the Department of Transportation, where he took the test and passed. Richard was employed at Burger King, then switched jobs to work at Texas Roadhouse where he worked many hours to support himself financially while going to school. Richard knew he wanted to go to college, but was not sure what to study or which college to attend. Even without a for sure plan, he knew that he wanted to make something of himself.
TAP explored careers with him, starting with the Career Scope. The assessment showed interest areas in the health care field, fire-fighting, and emergency medical services. TAP took him to Hawkeye Community College to learn about the fire-fighting and EMS programs. TAP worked with Cedar Falls High School staff and Iowa Works to determine options for him to take the Certified Nursing Assistant class, to get his certification. Richard had difficulty with attendance and follow through while in high school, but continued with the goal to attend college. He played rugby during high school and was recruited by Iowa Central Community College to play on their rugby team. He decided it was a great fit for him. TAP assisted him with the necessary steps to attend college and he worked with UNI-CUE to complete his financial aid information. TAP took Richard to his orientation at Iowa Central to register for classes, apply for housing, complete his financial aid documents, and connect with his advisor and the student disabilities coordinator. Richard applied for the Nursing program at Iowa Central but later changed his major to Athletic Training after he and TAP researched the programs offered. Richard is currently in his first semester at Iowa Central, taking full time classes, playing on the rugby team, and living in on campus in the dorms. He has reported that he is enjoying college and is doing well. His advisor and coach have taken Richard “under their wings” to provide the support that he needs. TAP continues to keep in contact with him in addition to the IVRS counselor on Iowa Central’s campus.
Don attended Cedar Falls High School and received specially designed instruction in a self-contained setting. Don has been diagnosed with Autism. Don also has anxiety, which in the past had caused limitations in looking ahead and making decisions regarding life after high school. Don was not interested in exploring various jobs or getting his driver’s permit or license. He was very set in where he wanted to work and did not want to get his driver’s license because of the fear of having an accident. Don enjoyed most of his work placements, but he struggled with his positions at the Cedar Falls Rec Center and Village Inn. TAP encouraged him to stay with those jobs, as this would help him to determine what he may or may not want to do after graduation. Don agreed and stuck it out even to those placements he did not like. One of Don’s placements that he really enjoyed, was at the Hy-Vee bakery. TAP spoke with human resources and the manager of the bakery, and was able to arrange paid, permanent placement after graduation. TAP also studied with Don so he was able to obtain his driver’s permit. Although Don was able to work some morning hours at Hy-Vee, he was also working afternoons and evenings. Because of the lack of a routine schedule, Don wanted to look for another job. TAP took him to the Waffle Stop and assisted him in filling out the application and took him back to return it. The program also helped him make a follow up call, which resulted in a job offer. Don is now working there and only works morning hours, which he is thrilled about. He has also obtained his driver’s license and recently bought his own car. Don is developing more everyday into an independent, happy and productive young man. He has grown a tremendous amount in the last year, and is very motivated to keep growing and learning as he continues to transition into adulthood.