Blake Applies the Skills Learned through PTI in Mulitple Environments
Since 2001, when Blake became a PTI participant, he has been working on his conversation skills, a major goal when he first joined. Before joining PTI, Blake had trouble listening to others, sensing when people were finished and interrupting when others were talking. This made him hesitant to talk to peers, start conversations and tended to get in the way of making friends and integrating in his place of employment.
In the last 14 years, with the help of PTI staff, Blake has learned the nuances of conversation and is able to properly detect when others are finished speaking. Blake says, “I listen first before I talk, and then wait. I don’t interrupt people when they are talking. If I do, I apologize for it. I feel like I’m able to connect with people better.”
Grasping the art of conversation has made Blake more confident when meeting new people and making friends. This has led to several friendships and a girlfriend. Blake’s work with PTI has helped him with his relationships with his family members and becoming more independent. “I’ve grown closer to my family. Today, I’m taking my nephew to the movies,” Blake says. Blake has been a child care attendant at the West County YMCA for 15 years. His relationship with his nieces and nephews inspired Blake to choose a career working with children. “My nieces and nephews gave me the confidence to apply for a job working with kids at the Y,” Blake says. Blake has also utilized the conversation skills he picked up with PTI in his place of employment, “I like talking to my co-workers at the Y,” he says.
As far as the future, Blake has lots of plans and lots to look forward to. “I can’t wait to live on my own and I hope to get married someday.” To new participants, Blake says: “All the staff members are excellent and they will help you in any way, shape or form. You’ll be making lots of great friends!”
Blake (left) with PTI participants and supporters at our Annual Pitch for D.D. event
Blake (left) with fellow PTI participants cheering on the St. Louis Blues!