The Story of Vander: U.S. Government Agency Employee with Cerebral Palsy

“Most importantly, I learned how to create my own appropriate workplace personality”

Vander is a young man with cerebral palsy who has achieved remarkable things despite formidable obstacles. At the age of nine he was put into foster care and separated from his mother and four brothers. Moreover, Vander was somehow allowed to fall through the cracks and didn’t attend school until he was 10 years old. An important milestone for Vander was when his occupational therapist (a school employee who provided related services specified in his individualized education programme) encouraged him to fill out the application for a Project SEARCH programme at a U.S. Government agency near his Washington, DC, home. Happily, Vander was accepted to the programme. As he recalled, “We learned how to escort guests, how to express ourselves in an appropriate way for the workplace, how to answer the telephone in the proper manner, and most importantly I learned how to create my own appropriate workplace personality.”

Find out more about how Project SEARCH is preparing young people with disabilities for successful employment.