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TotalLink Participant working at her job at a hair salon.
TotalLink participant at work.
 TotalLInk participant at her job at a dentist office.

Amara's Story

Amara is a Transition student at Glenbrook High School. She is a stylish young lady and is always decked out in accessories. It was important to Amara's family to find a job in her home community that would promote independence and confidence.

During Discovery, we learned that Amara reads sight words only--some would call her a non-reader. Ideal conditions for success at work include a predictable routine that allows her to work independently. Amara is a visual learner. She enjoys completing 3-4 step tasks that are repetitive and easily broken down into small teachable steps. Amara speaks a lot at home but not as much out in public. Some might find it challenging to understand Amara. We also learned Amara is particular about when and how she interacts with others. Some days she is giggling, and some days she prefers minimal interactions.

TotalLink created several customized jobs for Amara through strong community connections with her family dentist, at her hair salon, and a TotalLink employment specialist connection.

Humenik Dentistry

Amara assembles patient goodie bags, restocks, and files

  • Amara has been a patient of Dr. Mark Humenik all her life and has always loved going to his office.

  • TotalLink identified that the dental hygienists were assembling the goodie bags between patients.

  • Amara is a visual learner. We were able to teach her these steps through video and visual supports.

  • After several weeks and months of coaching, she learned to assemble the bags independently with minimal support from her co-workers.

  • Amara says she "loves working at Dr. Mark's," where she assembles patient goodie bags, does filing, and restocks patient giveaways like sugar-free gum and lollipops.

  • Amara makes about 40 bags per hour.

MaryBeth Humenik, co-owner of Humenik Dentistry in Northbrook, says, "Everyone looks forward to working with Amara. She is a true pleasure, does a terrific job, and lights up our office!"

Andreas Hogue Salon

Amara completes a variety of tasks, including folding towels, rinsing coloring utensils, cleaning brushes, and putting away coloring utensils. The environment is fun, young, and super stylish--just like Amara.

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