Jeanie and Kelly Chastain – A Post Transition Story


Jeanie and Kelly Chastain – A Post Transition Story

Hi, I am Jeanie and my daughter, Kelly, is a 26 year old woman who goes to work every day, loves getting her nails done and who also happens to have Down Syndrome. Before Kelly graduated high school, we had several transition meetings. Kelly was taught some work skills so that she may go out into the community, have a job and earn her own money.

After graduating from high school, Kelly worked at a thrift store for a short time then in the laundry department at the local hospital and later at a consignment shop.  It was decided that Kelly needed more supervision and more job coaching, so she started working at an Easter Seals work program and has been there for 4 years. Her work schedule is Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 2:00PM. She has been able to obtain her own bank account where she deposits her money.

Kelly has a schedule that she has made for herself and she follows it every day. She lives at home with me and has her own bedroom. After I pick her up from work, Kelly eats a snack, goes on her computer for a while then eats dinner, which has to be by 5 PM. After dinner, Kelly watches the shows she has recorded on her DVR.  She loves dancing and singing, so many of her favorite shows are “American Idol”, “The Voice” or “Do You Think You Can Dance”. She tries out the dance moves and can remember each step in a routine. We go to church and are currently looking into the youth group. She doesn’t like a lot of loud noises so we are looking for a quieter group she can join.

Recently Kelly was nominated for the “Working Wonders Worker of the Year” and won. She traveled to Atlanta, making the first trip without any family with her. Kelly and Amy Martin, Director of Vocational Services for Easter Seals, had a fun time. She experienced an elevator, which she didn’t like, a parking deck and food she didn’t really want to try. She was so excited about her award but nervous about going up in front of the audience. Amy talked with her and, in the end, Kelly was able to accept her award on her own. The two went to Fellini’s Pizza and rode around downtown looking at buildings. On the way home, they listened to loud music and sang as loud as they could. Kelly was invited to attend the Easter Seals Board meeting to tell them about her award and share her exciting experience in Atlanta.

We are currently looking into signing up for Zumba classes. I am thinking Kelly would like it because it is basically dancing and we both could use the exercise. I tried getting Kelly to walk, but that was not met with much enthusiasm. There are some days Kelly is down. She knows she is not going to have a baby, may never get married or drive a car. She knows there is a difference and that other people do get to experience these life events. I just try to work through those times with Kelly. Eventually things look up and that phase is over with. I guess everyone has their ups and downs, even if you have a disability.