High functioning Special Needs Adults Need Support Too

High functioning Special Needs Adults Need Support Too

It’s always heart-warming when I meet or hear of someone with special needs who is very high functioning and mostly independent. Many of their stories are inspiring as they continue to overcome obstacles and strive to live their best lives possible.

What is often overlooked is that despite their seemingly independent lifestyles and high capabilities, they too have need for support and care that often goes unmet. Services for that need for support and care are often unavailable in many communities.

Meet Pam Weiss and her family

In our podcast, you’ll meet Pam Weiss, who shares some of the challenges that her family faces as their special needs daughter, Ingrid goes about her daily life and focuses on her career. One of Pam’s biggest worries is Ingrid’s lack of attention and priority when it comes to keeping her apartment clean and tidy. This has presented issues in the past, such as unwanted pests. Compounding the challenge is that Pam and her husband Rob live more than 90 minutes distance from Ingrid. So, it’s not easy to do regular check-ins to assist and ensure Ingrid’s apartment is in order.

We talk a bit about the gap in services available in hopes something could be introduced to the market in the future. We also raise the question and wonder how technology might play a role to help solve some of these issues.

Ingrid’s early school years and ultimate hire by IBM

At the front end of our conversation, Pam provides insight into Ingrid’s early school years and how she was ultimately hired by IBM. It’s an incredible achievement! And I’m proud to learn that IBM (where I spent the first 30 years of my career) is a leader in providing opportunities for those with special needs. You can read here how IBM’s neurodiversity program started.

A few years back, Ingrid and Pam participated in an IBM/Wired Magazine short documentary called “When Neurodiveristy Works.” It is truly an amazing story and podcast. Ingrid followed up by speaking at the IBM Think conference.

And in October 2020, Pam’s husband, Rob (Ingrid’s father) published this inspiring article that details Ingrid’s journey. For anyone raising a child with special needs, I highly encourage you to read it, as it provides a sense of hope and inspiration, as well as a blueprint that we can all learn from.

Creating better career opportunities for those with special needs

Pam also discusses some of the work she and her employer, Orlans, are doing to recruit and train those with special needs to perform legal clerk type functions. It is truly inspiring to hear they are working to create jobs to help others achieve their highest potential.

Watch the full interview here: