Kayleigh’s Story – Walmart in Terrace

When Kayleigh was 18, she got a 30-hour work experience placement at Walmart through her school. At the beginning of the work experience, Kayleigh said she felt it was something she had to do, and time went slowly.

Kayleigh now works three days a week, six hours a day. Her boss says she brightens everyone’s day with a cheerful, “Good morning!” She loves her job and is often reluctant to leave at the end of her shift, especially if she hasn’t finished a task. She sees people she knows during every shift. At home after work, she often asks her parents, “Guess who I saw at work today?”

Kayleigh worked in several departments in the store to find the best fit for her skills and interests. She has a real eye for detail and enjoys stocking shelves, and found she enjoyed the seasonal department best. By working throughout the store, Kayleigh developed relationships with many employees from the other departments. In turn, her co-workers learned about autism, how it impacts her and how they can support her.

Kayleigh’s parents have noticed a positive change, especially after her first employment review and raise. Being embraced by the other employees, leading the “Walmart cheer” at the beginning of a shift, and being part of a team have also influenced Kayleigh’s positive attitude. Earning her own money means she can indulge in her love of shopping, and going to movies, sporting events and taking friends and family to dinner. Family and friends have noticed a significant change in Kayleigh since she has been working. She is more confident, feels accomplished, and has a new interest in talking to other people.

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