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NYSID News Blog

April 25, 2016

Pioneer Knows What Promotion Feels Like While Living With Autism

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:00 pm

Meet Francis Burke.

He has been an Arc of Onondaga/Monarch employee for two years and has proven to both staff and coworkers that he is an invaluable member of the Enclaves team, while living on the autism spectrum.

Francis Burke perfectly embodies what National Autism Awareness Month is all about

Francis currently works weekday evenings at the West Genesee day habilitation site on a NYSID contract.

After his first year on the job, he was asked if he would consider managing his own site. The first person ever to be asked to take on such a task, Francis would be required to not only work independently with minimal supervision, he would also have many additional responsibilities, including keeping the keys for the building, using proper time management skills, and maintaining and monitoring inventory, such as cleaning supplies and building necessities.

“We never even toyed with the idea of having an individual maintain their own site until Francis came to work for us,” said Jim Pitts, manager for Enclaves. “The more we worked with him, the more we began to realize how much we could streamline our productivity and efficiency if we were able to do more with less. Francis was the first person to demonstrate all the necessary skills that would be needed for someone to work independently at their own site, including having his own transportation.

“Today, we’re looking into other individuals being able to maintain their own sites. Francis was the pioneer for this new line of thinking, and we achieved such great success that we were able to slowly introduce other candidates to having their own sites. Francis proved to us that, with the right people and training, we could help individuals integrate into an inclusive and independent workforce type setting with minimal supervision.”

“It was such a confidence boost,” Francis said. “I just kept thinking, I bet this is what a promotion feels like. There are terrific people over there at the day hab. They deserve the cleanest and safest environment possible. I’m happy to be able to work for them.”

As we enter the final week of National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM16), we thank our member agencies for your continued support during NAAM16 and throughout the year. #AutismFriendly #NAAM16

Francis is also a Joslin Outstanding Performer. In its 13th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized nearly 600 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 15 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

Learn more information about the Joslin Outstanding Performance Award, including nomination materials, guidelines and important dates.


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