Alfredo “Freddie” Feliciano used his experience working with his autistic grandson to connect with a non-verbal client.
When Alfredo “Freddie” Feliciano began working at Typical Life Corporation in 2018 as a Direct Support Professional (DSP), he was assigned to a client who had been a challenge to other DSPs. The man was non-verbal and wouldn’t respond to anyone.
Freddie had a hunch: the man didn’t know English.
Over the course of a week, Freddie used the translator on his phone and tried playing messages in an array of languages, waiting for some sign of recognition.
Then he found it.
In Mandarin, Freddie played, “move to the table.” His client’s eyes lit up with understanding. The two had a way to communicate.
Working with the autistic and non-verbal community was nothing new for Freddie, who has an autistic teenage grandson.
“I’ve done a little of everything,” he says, “but when I hit on this, this was it. This is my passion.”
In November 2021, Freddie became the Program Manager of the TLC York Day Program.
“It took me a few months to decide because I didn’t want to leave my guy,” he says.
The realization, though, that he could better serve more clients like that ultimately helped Freddie to accept the position.
He continues to work one-on-one as the need arises and meets with his Mandarin friend for coffee — who still bakes cookies and colors pictures for him.
“If you’ve got the right heart for it and a passion, then this is the place to be,” he says. “From day one, I’ve loved it here.”
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