Jeff Improves Independence Through Coaching
Navigating the complex nuances of different social situations can be difficult. Jeff joined Pathways to Independence twenty years ago when he was looking for friends who were like himself. “I was out of school and wanted to develop friendships with others who have difficulties like I do. I’m a stutterer, which makes making friends even harder,” Jeff says. The staff at PTI has helped Jeff come out of his shell and develop the confidence to initiate conversations, discover shared interests and make friends.
Now, he says, “I have more confidence to talk with other people, but still have to worry about using my speech techniques so they can understand me.” The PTI staff has helped Jeff with this over the years. He says, “I feel like I can count on them [PTI staff]. They are always respectful and willing to give me tips on how to be polite in certain situations.” PTI staff purposefully builds skill-building opportunities into community activities so participants can develop and practice the skills needed in other areas of their lives.
Despite the struggles Jeff has experienced with his speech, he has been able to develop friendships and plan independent activities with others he met through PTI. He says, “I am a part of a group of guys from PTI that get together and play cards…I’m also part of another group [from PTI] that practices cooking skills. After we cook something, we eat together.” Transferring the skills learned through PTI to initiate planned activities of their own is one of the ultimate goals of Pathways to Independence. Jeff continues to utilize PTI’s services and programming to improve on his social skills. The PTI staff is there to help participants understand the details to be successful.