For parents of children with special needs, one of the most worrying things you will have to deal with as your child grows is the question of your child’s independence.
It is very obvious that you cannot always provide for them – at some point, your child will have to fend for themselves.
Additionally, as we all know, the world can, unfortunately, be very cruel to children with special needs, let alone adults.
So even if you have done your best to ensure your children have learned the skills needed to be independent, it can be a nightmare trying to find employment for them.
Considering that having a job is the most important bastion in achieving and maintaining independence, this becomes a source of great anxiety for both parents and adults with special needs alike.
As a result, when an employer like Pizza Inn comes along, it can be a huge relief for job searchers with special needs.
A mother of a Down syndrome child herself, Amanda Cartagine designed the restaurant training system with the needs and limitations of learning disabilities and the like in mind.
Not only are disabled people employed, but they are trained to only tackle a very specific set of tasks and put in charge over a specific domain.
This helps young adults with learning disorders such as autism, as it gives them a narrow, very clear set of expectations with strong boundaries.
Autistic people then feel much more safe and comfortable since they know exactly what they are trained for and what is expected of them.
So when a rude customer starts assaulting one of her employees verbally, Cartagine immediately stepped in.
The customer had requested that one of the staff members, a young man with autism, to refill the salad area’s lettuce bowl.
Because this was not one of his duties, the employee had not been trained in this area and thus was unable to fulfill the customer’s request.
This may seem arbitrary, but reinforcing these limits are important for the employee’s well-being.
The customer, however, did not understand this and began to belittle just about everyone in the building – including both the employee and the manager.
In private, the manager politely explained to the customer about how the business was run.
You would assume that this would be enough of an explanation, but the customer was still unhappy.
Instead, he left the restaurant in anger, shouting that the restaurant ought to have a ‘warning’ sign about the large number of disabled people it employs.
It was clearly meant as an insult, but Cartagine opted to take it in stride.
Shortly afterward, the restaurant soon had a sign that read “We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and hire all of God’s children” hung up on the window.
It is amazing just how openly supportive this woman is with her employees, to the point that she not only stood up in their defense but now aims to hire even more people with special needs.