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Focusing on Ability

Guest storyteller: Melanie Isaacs, Director of PAL Experiences, Inc.

Last Wednesday, I had the coolest day. My sister was helping me catch up on inspiring quotes and passed this gem from Temple Grandin to me, “There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do.” As this was swirling through my head, I went to the grocery store where I saw the words come to life.

I bumped into the Transition Academy students from First Place, part of a new residential concept for adults with autism and other special abilities that focuses on fostering independence. Learning independent living skills, each guy had a cartload of food and a huge smile. The friends were chatting about watermelon prices, comparing receipts and joking about the number of chips in one cart. I could not stop smiling and thinking of Temple’s words. Instead of having groceries delivered or a staff member running out for supplies, First Place focuses on the “can.” The guys can pick their own cereal. They can pay their own bill. They can independently be successful at the joyful task of buying groceries.

This mentality applies to everything First Place does. If we all took a moment to realize the ability that lies within, we would we see a lot more “can’s” in motion.

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