Feb 24     15 min read

The Daily Activities of a Client on the Autism Spectrum in the Transition Adult Services Program (TAS)

Updated: Feb 24

Abel, a client in the Transition and Adult Services program who is on the autism spectrum shares about his daily life. He discusses his job at the Institute for the Redesign of Learning, major in college and much more. Click to learn hear how he is soaring over the competition and making his dreams a reality.

Host:  0:20 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of I am able the goal of our podcast is to bring acceptance and awareness to our communities when working with educating and living with people of all abilities

Jamie Lord-Tovar:  0:42 

Hello everyone and welcome back to I am able podcast. My name is Jamie Lord Tovar. And today I have with me a special guest, Abel Villanueva. Sorry, how are you today? Abel?? Good, good. Now, Abel and I used to work together a few years back, and he agreed to be on the podcast with me today. So, I appreciate you being here. So Abel, can you tell me? Where is it that you work? And how long have you been there?

Abel Villanueva:  1:17 

So currently at South Pasadena? Okay, I’m at I’m at the headquarters.

Jamie Lord-Tovar:  1:26 

So you’re Go ahead. Sorry. Well,

Abel Villanueva:   1:29 

I’m at the headquarters in South Pas. I work at IRL since eight years ago.

Jamie Lord-Tovar:  1:42 

Oh, wow. So how so? What is your job title?

Abel Villanueva:  1:49 

So basically, I’m a, I’m an assistant.

Jamie Lord-Tovar:  1:54 

Okay. Cool. So, have you been doing that? So, you work for the Institute for the redesign of learning? Right? And you work in the corporate office? And have you always been an admin assistant? Or is this a new job for you?

Abel:  2:11 

Oh, it’s always been. Okay.

Jamie:  2:14 

So, what does a typical day at work look like? For you?

Abel:  2:20 

Basically, just go in, and then just talk to my, the, my boss, tell me what my tasks are and then go into it.

Jamie:  2:37 

Okay, so you typically so you, you work how many days a week occurred three days a week. Okay. And so when you’re at work, you know your boss, he writes grants, what is that? Right? Yes. Okay, so you help him? So do you do like research? What kind of things do you do besides just like reading your email?

Abel  3:04 

Well, like later on, later on he’s kind of teaching me about submitting the grant.

Jamie:  3:12 

About what I’m sorry.

Abel:  3:15 

Later on, like he will actually teach you how to submit. submit grants.

Jamie:  3:25 

Oh, cool. Oh, nice. So you’ll you that’s not something that you currently do you do all the research?

Abel:  3:33 

Yeah. So, I’m going to practice it. Other than that, I do. Like photography. Uh huh. Um and, um, what else I go to events? For photography actually, might and right, like interviews for various programs that we have one recently like in the last couple of hours. Oh, really? Yes.

Jamie:  4:18 

So, you get to be the interviewer then is that right?

Abel:  4:24 

Yeah. I think like we’re like today we have we have like a master. Stuff for a master, we had we had that.

Jamie:  4:35 

So what kind of so what kind of questions do you ask your when you do your interview? Are you asking them about their jobs or

Abel:  4:44 

Well, that into introduction then. Then COVID related stuff. related stuff. Okay. Yeah. So, I just first had to practice asking the questions. And when I went to feel ready that we’re, we’re actually recording the interview.

Jamie:  5:15 

Okay, so a little different than how we’re doing it because we just practice just for like a second, and then we’re just we’re just going for it today. So how do you So which do you prefer? Now that we’ve gotten started on our interview? Do you prefer to be the person who’s doing the interviewing or do you prefer to be the interviewee?

Abel:  5:42 

Uh, well, Interviewer But, yeah.

Jamie:  5:52 

It’s tough being put on the spot, isn’t it? A little bit? Yeah. That’s okay. You’re doing great, though. So you were saying that you typically do just like admin, administrative things. When you’re there? Three days a week, and you help do research for grants. And then you because you have an interest in photography, you’re able to do all these extra things for work where you go and interview people. Right?

Abel:  6:26 

Photography then video. Okay, so

Jamie:  6:29 

you do video and, and photography. Oh,

Abel:  6:31 

yeah. So, I think a couple years ago, we had a interview for a current like former client on TAS then we had to do like a video interview. Okay. They’re not the words. We went took a couple shots for, you know, for the presentation. Okay, so and that’s the words, since I like editing stuff, so I could edit the clips, and our music and all that and put, put subtitles for the for like our Spanish or Spanish parents.

Jamie:  7:25 

Oh, cool. So, you do like you do it all then when you

Abel:  7:31 

Oh, I help Gabriel. So technically we work for the same project?

Jamie:  7:35 

Uh huh. But it sounds like, for me when I do these interviews. I have I have other people. I just do the interview part. I, I do the questions and I do the interview part and then somebody else does everything else. But it sounds like you have to do all that extra work. That’s so important to the production. Right

Abel:  8:00 

but afterwards you have to send it to the approval team

Jamie:  8:04 

right? Yeah, so yeah, but still that’s a lot of work. Wow. So that sounds cool. Now what part of your job are you the happiest with what is your favorite part of your job? Then do you think

Abel:  8:20 

well like me doing for photography so recently for the for photography stuff. We had an auction I took photos for the for an auction that happened a couple of months ago. Okay. Were various items so

Jamie:  8:41 

Oh, you did that you took all the pictures

Abel:  8:43 

not all of it. Like some okay

Jamie:  8:49 

that was the one for was that for Westmoreland.

Abel:  8:53 


Jamie:  8:58 

I remember that. Yeah. Those that you took some nice pictures.

Abel:  9:04 

Yeah, so sometimes you have reattribution reshoot some shots so just in case you don’t doesn’t look like nice, some justice and all that. Okay.

Jamie:  9:21 

So you do that. When you get started, you took extra shots just to make sure that you had

Abel:  9:28 

had good pictures of the kids like Lisa, if the image doesn’t look right. Or needs some adjustment, so just go back and retake it. Okay. All right.

Jamie:  9:46 

So you so photography is still your passion. Is that right? Yes. And are you in you’re still going to college? You still go? Yeah. What what are you taking? Right now, what classes are you taking?

Abel:  10:02 

Oh, I haven’t enrolled yet. enrolling in classes, so I should do that, like, next week.

Jamie:  10:08 

Right. The next semester should be starting up. What does the next semester start?

Abel:  10:14 

See for the 3rd? Oh, wow. So I’m not sure if they still haven’t remote though.

Jamie:  10:23 

Oh, it does make going to class a little easier. I think when you’re in college, what do you think with the remote learning?

Abel:  10:31 

Yeah, but for photography, since I my take light, light too. Buy into you need like, equipment. Our equipment, but also, they let you Go in Like a studio will take photos there.

Jamie:  10:52 

Oh, cool. So you’re still going to is it? Is it Glendale? GCC? Okay, so Glendale Community College? Yeah. That’s, uh, do you like the school?

Abel:  11:07 

Yeah. Haven’t been in campus for the last two years? Yeah. Yeah.

Jamie:  11:18 

Yeah, that’s, I miss being on the campus sometimes. But it has been nice because I just finished another degree recently. To be able to be on campus, but also not having to drive which is nice, too. Which, which brings me to so. Speaking of driving, do you drive? No, no. So how do you get around?

Abel:  11:49 

I take the take the bus.

Jamie:  11:51 

You take the bus? Yeah. Do you still do you take like, take Uber

Abel:  11:57 

and sometimes ride sharing. Or have my folks drop me off? Oh, okay.

Jamie:  12:05 

So are you are you still living at home?

Abel:  12:10 

Yes. Yeah. It’s my folks.

Jamie:  12:13 

Okay, so just you and your parents.

Abel:  12:16 

Well yeah, with my brother and my little sister.  Nice. Yeah.

Jamie:  12:21 

Cool. So do you like your living situation? Do you like Yeah. That’s it’s nice to have family around, isn’t it?

Abel:  12:32 

Yes. Yeah.

Jamie:  12:38 

So, who do you go to when you need when you have problems at home? Who do you go to? For?

Abel:  12:47 

my dad? Yeah. Yeah.

Jamie:  12:51 

Your dad’s a pretty smart guy. Yeah, yeah. It gives you good advice. Yeah, yeah. And then how about at work? Who do you go to when you have issues at work or you need support at work?

Abel:  13:09 

I see my job coach then. Gabriel?

Jamie:  13:13 

Okay. Oh, nice. So, you’re you have the support of your boss, Gabriel. And then also your job coach Sandra, right. Yes. So what kind of things does Sandra help you with?

Abel:  13:26 

Well, oh, my advices

Jamie:  13:32 

she, I’m sorry. She gives you advice?

Abel:  13:34 

Yeah. Good tips. see pretty much it for now. Yeah, yeah, she’s just starting. Working with me over a month.

Jamie:  13:51 

Okay. Okay, so, so pretty new, then. How many do you so you’ve, you’ve been there for eight years. Do you know how many job coaches you’ve had in eight years?

Abel:  14:10 

Let’s see, I think like. Not sure it’s like eight or seven. But I don’t know. It sounds about right.

Jamie:  14:21 

So it’s because Abel, you’re, you’re one of those guys who is so good at their job that that when we have newer job coaches, and I was one of those two that that we support Abel because he is pretty efficient. Right? Would you say that? That’s true, Sandra. He just needs a little bit of support. And you know, just like we all do, honestly. Abel does a great job.

Abel:  14:53 

Not just job coaches, but like development associates I work with so yeah, they’re good people. Gabriel is he’s the fourth one. Oh, wow. Yeah, since I started working

Jamie:  15:07 

Oh, wow. So, you’re one of those guys who kind of has to be okay with change because you have a lot of change as far as like support and who you report to right?

Abel:  15:19 

Yeah. No, all like some of us are supportive. So cool

Jamie:  15:33 

All right, so let’s see. Oh, so we talked about that, that you are a photographer and you like to do some filming? Are there anything? What else do you think that you’re really good at?

Abel:  15:50 

Well, graphic design base, basically. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Jamie:  15:58 

Can you describe something that you’ve done recently?

Abel:  16:03 

Logos? Like design a website? Oh, cool. Yeah, I like to see that’s pretty much it.

Jamie:  16:14 

So, websites for yourself or for other people or

Abel:  16:20 


Jamie:  16:22 

for your portfolio?

Abel:  16:24 

Then general art that’s another major almost done with that just says just the pandemic like I need to go be in the in the in the campus to finish the last class. Okay. Yeah.

Jamie:  16:46 

So that you have just one the last one last class before you’ll graduate.

Abel:  16:52 

Not graduate but finished, like a degree certificate.

Jamie:  16:57 

Okay. So you’re going for a certificate. Okay. And so, is that your certificates in graphic design or?

Abel:  17:07 

General Art?

Jamie:  17:08 

Just general art? Oh. Sweet. And then so after you get that certificate will you continue on with school? Do you think no idea you don’t know yet? Least Are you still enjoying school?

Abel:  17:28 

Kind of. Yeah.

Jamie:  17:33 

I myself was I was ready for a break. But I’m glad that you’re still you’re still in school. I mean, with art, it’s there’s so many things to learn you and so many different aspects. So, you know, I you could probably just continue on for as long as you wanted at Glendale?

Abel:  17:50 

Yeah. Yeah.

Jamie:  17:55 

So Abel, if, if you were ever to stop being an admin assistant for IRL what? What job would you want? What jobs?

Abel:  18:15 

Um Let’s see probably? Me doing photography or like, just design? Do some graphic design, like logo design? All that?

Jamie:  18:30 

Yeah. So, do you think you’d want to work for yourself or for another company? Like you work for a company now?

Abel:  18:38 

I’ve seen for another company for now. But

Jamie:  18:46 

yeah, it’s really hard to promote, promote yourself. I mean, it takes a lot of work to promote yourself, especially in art. So, I think it is it’s better to, to work for another for somebody else. Then you also have you, you have that security of, of working for somebody else and not always having to, to chase clients and you know, and try to make money. So so when you make logos so, you know, I did a little bit of graphic design to you, you know, we you and I had a few conversations about being an artist and I take in like Photoshop and some of those things. Which, which one do you like the best because I know you know several different types of applications, right?

Abel:  19:48 

Yeah, Photoshop as an illustrator InDesign same pretty much it.

Jamie:  20:02 

Okay, so and when you do logos, what do you use? Which one do you use? Or do you use them? All?

Abel:  20:12 

Um, I just I just like create like no sketches so what was it look like make like a couple revisions and try to find the right colors the right set of colors for my logo. Okay. Yeah, so the fonts so

Jamie:  20:53 

have you ever tried to make a logo for somebody else? Like, like someone’s like, Hey, that’s a cool logo. Can you make something for me for my business?

Abel:  21:03 


Jamie:  21:05 

No? I tried to do that. And it was it was really frustrating, you know, not knowing kind of having an idea of what the customer wanted, but not getting exactly what they wanted. It got to be a little frustrating. So I was I was gonna ask you for some advice, but I guess we’ll have to meet to get advice for from you about some other stuff. Yeah. Cuz you’re very talented. Very talented. Okay, so I’m going to go back to You said earlier that you had interviewed somebody just earlier today. Can you tell me about anybody else that you’ve recently interviewed?

Abel:  22:00 

Yes, I’ll say mental health we did that one. That’s the other reason. Okay.

Jamie:  22:15 

And so what kind of things do you did you ask?

Abel:  22:21 

Basically, almost the same, the same? Almost the same questions but some are specific for the for the program.

Jamie:  22:29 

Okay, so when so you do like similar questions when you’re doing interviews? I Yeah, it depends on who I’m interviewing to. Some of the questions are a little bit similar let’s see. Is there anything else that you do in your free time besides photography and graphic design?

Abel:  23:02 

No, no,

Jamie:  23:04 

No? go to movies or play video games

Abel:  23:07 

I play video games or walk in the mall

Jamie:  23:12 

Oh, nice. Okay, so you alright, so is that the kind of stuff you do on the on your days off go to the mall play video?

Abel:  23:20 

Yes. Yeah. See home mostly especially. Especially like right now? Yeah, yeah

Jamie:  23:36 

so, let’s so what about work or home are you most proud of? What do you think is like your biggest accomplishment?

Abel:  23:54 

just getting them getting the work done efficiently. So, recently at the San Gabriel Rotary Club actually showed my the video I work on. Oh, really? Oh, wow.

Jamie:  24:24 

That must have been exciting. Yeah. That’s cool. I would be proud of that, too. So where are you? So were you there to watch it when they watched it or?

Abel:  24:41 

Yes. Yeah. Just we’re actually for take pictures too. That’s another thing. Oh, okay.

Jamie:  24:57 

So, Abel, do you have any role model

Abel:  25:02 

Not currently no, no.

Jamie:  25:05 

Nobody that you look up to

Abel: 25:07

my folks.

Jamie: 25:08

Your folks. Okay, well those are great role models.

Abel:  25:10 

My dad especially because he also works at the company TES. Right. Yeah. Well, he’s in transportation.

Jamie:  25:25 

Right? Yeah. Everybody loves your dad. He’s a good guy. Which probably is why everybody loves you too, because you’re also a good guy. Like,

Abel:  25:39 


Jamie:  25:45 

So is there anything else? I think I’ve gone through all of the questions. Oh, I didn’t ask you what was the most challenging part of interviewing people

Abel:  25:56 

the most challenging part is seeing the research. Like find the right the right permission. Yeah, yeah. I took like some news. I did, like some companies are furnished, furnish does have the, the, the necessary permissions they have to. to type it in and submit. Yeah, especially for grant for some certain subject, like, like playgrounds or, or electronics for the for the classrooms. They’re like, less, less results. Why? When I type it up?

Jamie  26:51 

Oh, I see. Okay. So just not having all the like, the information that’s readily available. That’s yeah, that is pretty challenging. And it’s pretty challenging. Alright, so is there anything else that you would like the audience to know?

Abel:  27:16 

No, no, it’s pretty much it. Yeah.

Jamie:  27:24 

All right. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today. Especially when we didn’t do we, we, we did our interview a little bit differently than then you’re normally used to. So I do appreciate you doing this on the fly with me today. And I hope that we can talk again soon. All right. All right. Well, thank you so much, Abel, and thank you everybody out there for listening to I am able podcast. Have a great day.

Abel:  28:00 

Alright. See you soon. All right.


1106 Views   0 Comments
Recent Posts See All

The Daily Activities of a Client on the A...

Abel, a client in the Transition and Adult Services program who is on the autism spectrum shares ...

1106   0

What is a Job Coach?

Lin Long, a job coach that works at Westmoreland Academy who has been with The Institute for Rede...

974   0

Meet the Host

Jamie Lord-Tovar our host has the tables turned on her. Learn more about the amazing host and whe...

1182   0

  Limit 400 characters