Thursday, October 23, 2008
Medical Reports: Helping Hand
A major concern for parents of special needs children is how they will make it on their own as adults, but a new program is giving parents peace of mind by offering these young people a helping hand. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us.
WSVN -- Carolina Poussin: "He was going to be the first son, the first grandson."
Carolina Poussin couldn't wait for the birth of her first child Juan, but then the unexpected happened.
Carolina Poussin: "The delivery was extremely difficult, and he ended up being without oxygen."
Juan didn't speak until he was 5. Obviously he suffered from some brain damage at birth, and his mom worried about his future. But she didn't need to worry.
At 21, Juan is working at Memorial Hospital in Miramar re-stocking medical supplies. It's all thanks to a new program called Project Search.
Terrie Garner: "It is a program designed to transition adult high school students into the workplace, and for those students with special needs."
Memorial Healthcare System partnered with Broward County schools. They hired nine special need students, trained them and gave them jobs at the hospital.
Terrie Garner: "They are jobs that anyone would come in and apply for."
Some students work in the cafeteria. Others set up for surgery, and their teachers say the program is making a huge difference.
Lonny Shapiro: "So giving them this opportunity out in the community is an experience that we can never duplicate in any classroom."
Juan loves working with the computer and takes pride in his job. He hopes when the program is over he can continue working at the hospital.
Juan Ignacio: "I like it. I make more friends here."
His mom says she has never seen her son so proud of his accomplishments and is relieved to know he can work and be happy.
Carolina Poussin: "It's so important, feeling that he can be just a regular person."
Diana Diaz: "The hospital and the school board have a two-year commitment with Project Search. They hope to have 12 students by next year.