Yesterday I went for a cup of tea, where I sometimes go. It's one of two or three places I know where the tea is made and served, the money is turned into returned change and the tea is made - all by people with intellectual disabilities. My whole transaction, from start to finish, was done with the staff of the cafe - not with the staff of the staff.
My order was taken by a fellow who found the box of green tea, plopped it into a cup, asked me what size of cup I wanted and then poured the right amount of water into the cup. When it came to doing the money, he called for help - but he called for a fellow cafe staff. The two, both with intellectual disabilities, punched numbers into the cash register. Well, that not quite right, the other staff, who was obviously good with numbers - simply showed the tea maker which buttons to push. He seemed to know that it was the other man's sale and the other man's responsibility - so he didn't take it from him.
It was great to watch such teamwork. It was great to see them rely on each other without calling for help from one of their support staff.
This means of course that their support staff are doing a really, really good job.
They must understand that their job isn't to be there and do for ... but rather teach a whole whack of, a real variety of ... skills.
We had our tea, I had gone with a friend from work, and chatted in the cafe. It was full of sound and laughter and great good spirit.
My tea was good.
The whole experience was better.