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Reasonably accommodating

While we’re talking about intellectual disabilities and cures mitigation reasonable accommodation on this humble blog, I thought I’d share with you an excerpt from an email Jamie received late last week.  It’s official!  Jamie has had his first job interview, and he’s gotten his first job:

Dear Jamie,

Congratulations on doing a good job when we met with three of the staff members in the mailroom this morning! To review, here is what was discussed:

~ You were offered a part-time job in the mailroom.

~ The job involves sorting mail and packages for students who live in the East Halls dorm complex.

~ Your hours will be 12:15 - 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

~ Your job will start on Tuesday, January 26 and will continue through the end of Penn State’s spring semester 2010 when Penn State students are in session.

~ The exact ending date of this job will be determined closer to the end of the semester, but it could end on Friday, April 30 or on Friday, May 7.

So what this means, logistically, is that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jamie will be shuttled from his high school over to Penn State after lunch.  He’ll miss a few classes, yes, but since his junior and senior years of high school are supposed to help him “transition” from school to work, this arrangement is actually part of the curriculum.  (Many thanks to the transition team at State College Area HS and Penn State.)

Wish him good luck!  He’s very excited about this, as you might imagine.  And since it’s a paying job, he’ll have his mind on his money and his money on his mind.  What should he do with his first paycheck?  I think he should take his parents out to dinner, don’t you?

Speaking of transitions: you may recall from the World-Transforming Jamie News post that State College also has a high school/ college transition program that allows people with intellectual disabilities to take appropriate courses at Penn State.  Well, guess what?  The 2008 revisions to the Higher Education Act actually include a whole bunch of brand new sections devoted to enhancing the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in higher education.  (Here’s a precis in .pdf.)

I’ve been looking around lately, and I haven’t seen anyone discussing this anywhere.  So I decided to write a little thing about it, the way I do sometimes.  It appeared in last week’s Times Higher Education Supplement (UK), and it’s available now in a nearby intertube.  Spread the word, if you’re so inclined.

Posted by on 01/19 at 09:47 AM
  1. Outstanding. One job interview, one job? How many of us can claim the same record?

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:01 AM
  2. Not me.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:08 AM
  3. Congrats to Jamie!

    captcha: “office”

    Posted by Amanda French  on  01/19  at  11:11 AM
  4. Wow! Congratulations, Jamie! That first paycheck is going to be exciting. I once did data entry at Management Services, though, and if the mail room pays like they did, Mom and Dad better not be expecting to go to the Nittany Lion Inn.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:17 AM
  5. We’ll settle for Chipotle, really.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:27 AM
  6. Congratulations Jamie! That is very exciting news. Best of luck in your new job.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:31 AM
  7. Good luck, Jamie, and congratulations.  Back in my day, the first paycheck was used to buy a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, but I suppose that’s not an option now.  Maybe the new Spoon CD?

    Posted by Gary Oxford  on  01/19  at  11:32 AM
  8. That is certainly some day-brightening news. Remember, Jamie, now that you are a contributing taxpayer you pay your dad’s salary. It won’t hurt to remind him of that every so often.

    As for the 2008 revisions to the Higher Education Act, good on the government. More like this please.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:51 AM
  9. And Michael, nice use of “programme” and “spanner” for your British audience.  As for waiting for university presidents willing to take on the USN+WR rankings, it might be a while, Estragon.

    Posted by Gary Oxford  on  01/19  at  12:15 PM
  10. That’s some great news. Congrats Jamie!

    In news almost completely unrelated to a first paycheck, I note that Freedy Johnston has a new CD out this week.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  01/19  at  01:09 PM
  11. Congratulations on the new job, Jamie!  You must have just blown away the folks at the interview. I’m heading to your piece on the Education Act revisions now, Michael. I’m looking forward to the next book too.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  01:36 PM
  12. Remember, Jamie, now that you are a contributing taxpayer you pay your dad’s salary. It won’t hurt to remind him of that every so often.

    Nine percent of my salary, V. Ed, nine percent.  Tell you what—Jamie picks up dinner, and I leave the tip.

    And Michael, nice use of “programme” and “spanner” for your British audience.  As for waiting for university presidents willing to take on the USN+WR rankings, it might be a while, Estragon.

    I can hope, can’t I?  And you know “programme” and “spanner” are the result of that British copyediting—originally, I’d written “program” and “Spaniard.”

    Posted by Michael  on  01/19  at  02:27 PM
  13. As in, A Spaniard in the Works.  You may think your Beatles allusions are too cunning for us, but no, no, no, you’re wrong.  As for your boy, everything is right!  Congratulations to Jamie for the perfect job.  For the paycheck, is there anything he could use at work?  One summer when I worked at a lumber yard, I bought a really sturdy tape measure that I used dozens of times a day.  I still have it, 35 years on.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  03:00 PM
  14. Exciting stuff! Makes me think about my first job . . .

    Also, though, a question: If you’re so inclined, would you tell us a bit more about how Jamie’s high school education works? I suppose I’m conditioned to associate transitioning-into-the-working-world programs with low academic expectations, self-fulfilling prophecies of failure, etc. Is that association just a lingering ghost of my high school days? Have you seen any problems keeping accommodation distinct from underestimation?

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  03:13 PM
  15. So glad for Jamie!  I hope he loves every minute.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  04:54 PM
  16. Congratulations, Jamie.  Now, you get to learn how to complain about working conditions, lousy pay, ignorant bosses. . .

    This is really great news, Prof. Berube.

    Posted by Geoffrey  on  01/19  at  05:39 PM
  17. A nice step forward toward authentic independence and living a life full of promise… Congratulations Jamie.

    Posted by  on  01/19  at  11:30 PM
  18. great news about Jamie—I can just see him “play"(catchpa)-ing a forlorn mail clerk in a Terry Gilliam movie

    Posted by  on  01/20  at  12:11 AM
  19. ajay @1 took the words out of my mouth: first interview, first job, in the Great Recession. In Pennsylvania.

    Posted by Sherman Dorn  on  01/20  at  12:40 AM
  20. Well, aren’t we international—“The Left at War” got a two-page article about it in Norway’s third-largest paper, Dagbladet today.

    Posted by Martin G.  on  01/20  at  07:52 AM
  21. Congratulations, Jamie! Many a year I got mail in East Halls, starting with 6th floor Stuart Hall. Some call the architecture Stalinist, and they may be right. The cuisine was probably more Leninist, but that’s arguable. In any case, it was home at 4000 residents, larger than many small towns in PA. You’ll be learning the names of all the dorms soon enough!

    Posted by John Protevi  on  01/20  at  09:26 AM
  22. It’s true—we really do have a building named Stuart Hall.

    And one of these days I’m going to take a pic of the Althouse Laboratory.  Apparently, it’s the world center for the manufacture of insipidium.

    Posted by  on  01/20  at  09:30 AM
  23. Congrats to Jamie.

    My first job was as a maid in the Bel-Aire motel on State Street in Santa Barbara. I celebrated my first pay check my getting an ice-cream cone in Isla Vista.

    Posted by  on  01/20  at  10:28 AM
  24. Nice job, J!
    And what better place to start than the mailroom? Isn;t this the beginning of every modern Horation Alger tale?

    First, mailroom factotum, then, by virtue of sweaty brow and grindstoned nose and greased elbow, uh, metaled pedal, Chief Mailclerk!

    From there it’s upward and onward to Associate Asistant Dean of Postage, then Communications Director, and finally President! Trustee! King of Freakin Central PA!!!

    So congratulations in advance.

    Posted by  on  01/20  at  10:36 AM
  25. Wow, again.  Congratulations Jamie!  In other employment news, our son Jack, who is six, has been offered a job by the owners of the local Breadsmith when he turns 16.  I think they see potential.  But by that time we will have bought enough bread for him that we will have paid his salary for several years.

    “I’ve been looking around lately, and I haven’t seen anyone discussing this anywhere.” Me either.  I thought others would speculate on this a bit more.  The more I read in Disability Studies the more confident I am in saying that intellectual disability is neglected and needs to be addressed more—by DS scholars and the press.  To be clear: I am not taking anything away from the commentaries about physical disability; I just think there is an imbalance or gap when it comes to discussions of cognitive/intellectual disability. 

    I know it’s a tricky subject.  Coincidentally, after I read the link to the HEOA brief I went to the first class of the semester for a composition course.  A student disclosed having an intellectual disability and was moderately disruptive—I am concerned about this class now, and I couldn’t be more in favor of the policy.  Inclusion is controversial, hard, new, so support is going to come about slooowly.  And since it’s not a political game-winner, where is the push going to come from?  I don’t know.  This policy gives me hope, but I can see why it’s going to be a hard sell.

    Posted by  on  01/20  at  06:13 PM
  26. That’s awesome news! I’m thrilled to bits for Jamie.

    Posted by  on  01/20  at  10:22 PM
  27. Way to go Jamie! High fives all around!

    I think I spent my first paycheque, not including money from my paper route, on cigarettes and beer and the first Tom Petty album, but I’m guessing Jamie is probably more sensible than I was in high school.

    One question - is the mail room still hiring?

    Posted by rev.paperboy  on  01/21  at  05:03 AM
  28. Congrats Jamie, great stuff*. And remember that a lot of the packages students get around exam time are full of goodies. Not that I’m advocating any criminal activity, but if you want to move from the Mailroom to Wall Street Banksterism the key is to creatively identify how to put other people’s resources that are within your grasp to your own use without getting caught punished.

    *And as the parent of a very-recently-minted college grad I am genuinely heartened by any and all signs of employment within the Younger-American community.

    Posted by  on  01/21  at  09:04 AM
  29. And I think my first paycheck went towards “Sounds of Silence”. (From the meager part left over after my parents stole most of it to spend on clubs to beat us to death with every night. Plus we lived at the bottom of a lake where they didn’t even *have* albums back in the day.)

    Posted by  on  01/21  at  09:10 AM
  30. A *lake*? What luxury! We would have counted ourselves lucky to have a nice, calm, peaceful lake! We had to make do with a rocky tidal pool full of oyster shells!

    Captcha: “years” as in “ago, that was many”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  01/21  at  09:16 AM
  31. John @ 25:  The more I read in Disability Studies the more confident I am in saying that intellectual disability is neglected and needs to be addressed more—by DS scholars and the press.  To be clear: I am not taking anything away from the commentaries about physical disability; I just think there is an imbalance or gap when it comes to discussions of cognitive/intellectual disability.

    Yep.

    I know it’s a tricky subject.

    Also yep.  Emphatically.

    Coincidentally, after I read the link to the HEOA brief I went to the first class of the semester for a composition course.  A student disclosed having an intellectual disability and was moderately disruptive—I am concerned about this class now, and I couldn’t be more in favor of the policy.  Inclusion is controversial, hard, new, so support is going to come about slooowly.  And since it’s not a political game-winner, where is the push going to come from?  I don’t know.  This policy gives me hope, but I can see why it’s going to be a hard sell.

    One more yep.  One very tricky thing here (and tricky partly because entirely unavoidable) is the place of mental illness in “intellectual disability.” The people I’ve spoken to (on this campus and on others) are especially antsy about this because of the legacy of the Virginia Tech shootings (weirdly, everyone seems to have forgotten about Northern Illinois), as if schizophrenia and murderous violence should be the first agenda item when people think about inclusion.  But there it is, and there it’ll remain until we finally have a critical mass of people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities taking appropriate college classes as if it were the most natural and unremarkable thing in the world.

    Posted by Michael  on  01/21  at  01:35 PM
  32. Sven @ 24:  First, mailroom factotum, then, by virtue of sweaty brow and grindstoned nose and greased elbow, uh, metaled pedal, Chief Mailclerk!

    From there it’s upward and onward to Associate Asistant Dean of Postage, then Communications Director, and finally President! Trustee! King of Freakin Central PA!!!

    No, finally President of the Modern Language Association—the highest and most powerful office known to humankind.

    Martin G. @ 20:  Well, aren’t we international—“The Left at War” got a two-page article about it in Norway’s third-largest paper, Dagbladet today.

    You know, you made me look, because that’s about one pages more attention than the book has gotten in the entire English-speaking world, but I couldn’t find it.  Interesting paper, though, that Dagbladet.

    Posted by Michael  on  01/21  at  01:37 PM
  33. Ok, so this law is now on the books. What’s the next step, do you think? Go to my president/dean/provost and say, “let’s make it so?”

    Posted by  on  01/21  at  02:10 PM
  34. No, finally President of the Modern Language Association—the highest and most powerful office known to humankind.

    Which reminds me of an off-topic question I’ve been meaning to ask: Are there any Modern Languages, other than Esperanto? I’ve been running all the languages I know of through my mind and aside from that one, all of them would seem to be either Historic Languages, like Latin, or Post-Modern Languages like English.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  01/21  at  02:29 PM
  35. No, finally President of the Modern Language Association—the highest and most powerful office known to humankind.

    Wish I’d thought of it.

    Chris: Ubbi Dubbi?

    Posted by  on  01/21  at  05:42 PM
  36. Post-Modern Languages like English

    More like Amurkin every day.

    Posted by  on  01/21  at  10:31 PM
  37. ha ha ha, funny me - the day I make a joke about looking for a job in the mailroom with Jamie my newspaper announces it’s gonna be cutting staff.

    Seriously now, are there any other jobs open in the mailroom? I quit smoking years ago, so I only need enough to keep me in beer and Tom Petty albums.

    Posted by rev.paperboy  on  01/22  at  04:02 AM
  38. Well, Jamie’s only working four hours a week, so you can’t have any of his hours.  Srsly, I’m sorry to hear this.  Sell the Tom Petty albums for beer, though—that’s gotta be the first step.

    And this is the next step:

    David @ 33:  Ok, so this law is now on the books. What’s the next step, do you think? Go to my president/dean/provost and say, “let’s make it so?”

    Yep!  Along with some language about how this is a significant opportunity for good PR and social justice all at once, especially for the campuses that move most quickly on this.

    Chris @ 34:  Which reminds me of an off-topic question I’ve been meaning to ask: Are there any Modern Languages, other than Esperanto?

    Very very funny, Mr. McNaturePants.  But of course the whole entire idea, back in the 1880s when the organization was founded, was to distinguish English, French, Spanish, Italian, etc. from the ancient languages, which the pedants of the day considered the only languages worth teaching at the college level.  The influence of those pedants was felt for decades, which explains why “literature” professors taught Anglo-Saxon grammar instead of, you know, literature:  because Anglo-Saxon grammar was, like, really hard and therefore Very Important.

    Posted by  on  01/22  at  11:58 AM
  39. Congratulations to Jamie. That’s very nice to hear.

    Posted by  on  01/23  at  10:00 PM
  40. Your post is about one pages more attention than the book has gotten in the entire English-speaking world,thanks.

    Posted by ed hardy sneakers  on  09/10  at  10:10 PM
  41. Didnt see your reply until now—the article was probably paper-only, Im afraid.

    Posted by Martin G  on  09/11  at  04:03 AM

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