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(VIDEO) Young Exceptional Adults looking for work in Decatur

Business Decatur slideshow

(VIDEO) Young Exceptional Adults looking for work in Decatur

Martha Haythorn

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This story has been updated. 

There are young adults living in Decatur who have intellectual disabilities. They want to be a part of the community and stay here for the foreseeable future.

Their parents are hoping the Decatur business community will step up to help make that goal achievable. The parents and students formed a group called YEA! [Young Exceptional Adults] For Inclusive Decatur. The parents say their children’s disorders run the gamut, from Autism spectrum to developmental delays. But they have many things in common. They are friends. They don’t want to sit on a couch at home for the rest of their lives and they don’t want to live with their parents forever.

They want to get out of the house. They want to work. All they need is an employer willing to take them on.

“The job that I would be interested in doing would be something where there’s music involved, where I’m always around music, things of that nature,” said Josh Grant, a YEA! member.

Another YEA! member, Martha Haythorn, said, “I want to be a physical therapist assistant because I really want to help kids just like me.”

Terri Leonard is the parent of two developmentally disabled children.

“We’re encouraging paid employment, because we don’t want to water down their expectation or what’s the norm for anybody,” Leonard said. “We’d like them to be seeking paid work, but at the same time understanding there could be on the job training. There can be mentorships. There could be internships through the high school offered that can be a laboratory where young people could explore what they’re good at.”

Decaturish will be running individual video profiles of students in YEA! this month. Local business owners who want to help can reach these students by sending an email to [email protected] Companies that give these young adults an opportunity will be mentioned in future Decaturish articles about this topic.

The video segments for this series were produced by Decaturish contributor Gabriel Owens. 

Correction: One of the speakers in the video was misidentified. This story and video have been updated with the correct information. 

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