By Cedric Nicholson, Skills Coach

Jonathan is a fun-loving person who likes to travel, go camping, watch anime, play video games and–most notably–drive vehicles. Jonathan rejoined the Launch + Skills program in the late spring/early summer of 2022 to work on some independent living goals such as time management and organization. He believes the program helped him develop the daily habits that he needed to live on his own which led to him to becoming a Southland Transportation Bus Driver.

Jonathan smiling behind the wheel, launch + Skills

Jonathan is thriving in his new role as a bus driver

“I needed to hone my life management skills so that I could be a trustworthy and reliable bus driver,” he says. “After learning more from my skills coach, Cedric, I also got assistance from The Society for Autism Support and Services (formerly The Society for the Treatment of Autism). The wonderful people there helped coach me with my resume and interview skills, and have remained in touch with me to make sure things are still going well.”

Jonathan is thriving in his new role, but the learning curve has been steep. “Some driving rules and laws have changed since I first started driving, so I had to unlearn some of the things I was taught as a Class 5 driver years ago, ” he says. Receiving advice from his Southland Transportation driving trainers and applying it to his everyday driving has been helpful and he enthusiastically gives a shout out to Aubrey, Carlos, and Eddie at Southland. “(Those) guys were extremely patient with me, and helped me out so much with the materials and skills driving a bus!”

He had been a delivery driver for many years, but he says this latest step in his career is probably the most exciting and pleasant one so far. “It feels more relaxing to me because (I’m) driving to get people home safely. We can’t control what others do, (which means I) have to be proactive and drive extra defensively.”

Joanthan and Cedric, Launch + Skills

Jonathan and his Skills Coach, Cedric

For Jonathan, this means that taking his time going safely from stop to stop is actually more relaxing than the crazy rush he used to do as a delivery driver.

He also notices a difference in the work culture at Southland. “The comradery between drivers and staff is also something I have never experienced before at any of my other jobs,” he says. “We have fun, tell wonderful jokes, help each other out, and feel like an extended family. There are other drivers I’ve met who are also Autistic, so this really is a great place to work! If you can handle the cold weather!” he adds.

Jonathan is quick to give some credit to Sinneave’s Launch + Skills program also. “Taking the program tips and tricks seriously helped a lot,” he says. “I recognized that my previous ways of doing things at the last minute and not planning or keeping track of things was detrimental to my everyday life.”

If you are considering joining the Launch + Skills Program, Jonathan has some words of advice for you: “Do it!”  But, he cautions that a person should only do it if they want to change their lifestyle and learn new skills to improve their life. “The staff can teach you as much as they can, but it means nothing if you don’t want to change.”

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Jonathan's bus, Jonathan and Cedric, Launch + Skills

Jonathan credits the Launch + Skills program with helping him develop essential life skills that help him to be a reliable and trustworthy bus driver

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