Leo’s Story

Key Factors to Leo’s Success

Youth Factors

  • Pursuing early work experience opportunities during high school
  • Connecting with an employment specialist and the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center
  • Demonstrating persistence in pursuing goals
  • Possessing a willingness to improve skills
  • Actively planning for the future

Provider Factors

  • Partnering with Tennessee Rehabilitation Center (TRC)
  • Connecting youth to job opportunities
  • Supporting youth during job interview

Leo is only 21 years old and already a published author. His first book, titled “Devin and the Greedy Ferret, ” was published by WestBow Press.

Leo With BookLeo lives in Davidson County and has autism. He is the oldest of five kids in his family. Leo began working early; he had paid summer jobs when he was in school, including at Kroger and the donation center at Goodwill. After he graduated from high school in 2010, he went to the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center (TRC) for two years.

An employment specialist at TRC helped Leo find a job at Harris Teeter. Leo’s employment specialist worked with him to enhance his interviewing skills and even came with Leo to his job interview. Leo works the night shift at Harris Teeter. He starts his shift around 10 at night and finishes between 6 and 8 in the morning. Leo stocks shelves and conditions the aisles at Harris Teeter. He also makes sure all merchandise is properly organized.

Leo has worked at Harris Teeter for over a year. He enjoys having a job because he is able to pay his car insurance and purchase a laptop for his writing.

Want more information about the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center? Please download the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center Flyer

Though Leo enjoys his current job, he has bigger plans for the future. Leo sees himself making a living as an author after he turns 25. He is currently tLeo Writing in Bookaking an English Composition class at Nashville State and will take Creative Writing in the future to continue honing his writing skills. Leo is also meeting with writing coaches one-on-one. He plans to write a series of books in the future with other newly developed characters.

This piece was originally posted in Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability.