My Niece Gaby

For a few years now my niece Gaby has been helping me with The Trip Clip. Gaby has Autism, but it hasn’t stopped her from being able to a do a wide variety of tasks for The Trip Clip, including but not limited to order fulfillment, making magnets, testing The Trip Clip website, and entering sales into Quickbooks.

Gaby has 2 other part-time jobs too. She works at Bridge Disability Ministries and at Star Protection Agency. At these jobs she does scanning, shredding, filing, data entry, and prepares marketing materials.

Gaby has a background in computer work, data entry, and organizational tasks. During her high school years in the Midwest, she volunteered at local school and public libraries where she shelved books, prepared inter library transfers, and did inventory and data entry. Later she did data entry for the local city government as well. Her autism helps her be detail-oriented and focused, and she brings her commitment to excellence and efficiency, along with her quirky sense of humor, to The Trip Clip.

Because The Trip Clip has been a great tool for kids with special needs like Gaby, I thought it would be fun to share how Gaby, who heavily used visual supports like those offered by The Trip Clip when she was at school, has grown into an adult with 3 jobs and lots of great skills. Gaby responded well to visual supports that helped with schedule independence, motivation, stress relief, behavioral issues, and academic instruction.

Every person with autism is unique. Here are some of the special things about Gaby that may or not be true of others with Autism. She has a passion for all things Disney and Thomas. She reads and follows visual directions incredibly well (LEGO kits and puzzles are favorite activities for her). Verbal communication is hard for her, both speaking and comprehending language. Verbal instructions stress her out, she avoids speaking if she can, and if she does speak, it’s often in echolalia. She will often recite lines from one of her many memorized movies or TV shows, and it can take some work on the part of the listener to realize that the reason she’s reciting the campfire scene from Frosty the Snowman is because she’s cold and needs a sweatshirt!

One of the keys to working with Gaby has been to meet her where she is. I’ve found that she can do way more than you might think if you give her written instructions instead of verbal instructions. I’ve embraced her love of LEGO kits and have learned to write detailed, step by step instructions for her, and then I hand them to her silently so as to avoid stressing her out. She can read them and learn the new task at her own pace. And when she’s working, I’ve learned to keep one ear open for subtle sounds that indicate she has run into a problem, since initiating a conversation and verbally asking for help is super hard for her.

Gaby really likes working on The Trip Clip. The tasks are varied and often interesting, though she also has a seemingly endless ability to do repetitive tasks and continue to do them carefully from beginning to end. Occasionally I hit on something that she can’t do, but mostly I’m still finding that the set of things she can do for me is growing. It’s fun for both of us to keep challenging her.

I’m going to post here about tasks Gaby does for The Trip Clip to showcase how much this individual with Autism can do, and just to document all the kinds of things Gaby and I have been doing together on The Trip Clip!

Making Magnet Packs – Oct 2, 2022

Last week Gaby made after school magnet packs for me. This is a task that plays to her strengths – I think for her it feels a little like assembling a LEGO kit because she has a set of instructions to follow and a template to follow to put the magnets into batches of 20. It’s also fortunately super helpful to me, since I would not do it myself if I didn’t have Gaby to help me! This job is very straightforward. Gaby prints out a set of pictures, affixes the sheets to adhesive magnet paper, cuts apart the individual magnets, sorts them according to the template, and then packages them up in batches of 20 in a small plastic envelope that she puts a label on.

Gaby is really good at all of these tasks because she’s always careful and precise and the repetition seems to feel comfortable to her rather than boring. I sell 6 different magnet packs, so Gaby helps me keep track of when supplies of any of them are getting low, and when they are, she assembles a new set of magnets so that they are ready to grab and pop into a shipment to customers who purchase them.

Alphabet BINGO – Sept 21, 2022

Gaby recently made 3 sets of Alphabet BINGO boards that I will sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. I wrote instructions telling her how to use The Trip Clip website to generate a random board with all capital letters, which she then added to the Print Queue. Then I had her repeat the steps 29 more times until she had 30 unique boards in her queue. I also wrote instructions for how she could use the Custom List activity to make calling cards for the bingo boards and she added those to the Print Queue as well. She saved the resulting PDF and emailed it to me. She then did the same steps all the way through to make 30 bingo boards of lower case letters, and then again to create bingo boards that have a mix of upper and lower case letters.

This task was a complete success. Gaby used the instructions I’d written and in a little over an hour she had created 3 new packets that I can now sell on Teachers Pay Teachers!

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