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J.R. Spencer influences the lives around him

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J. R. Spencer has been working Autistic students for 14 years.

J. R. Spencer has been working Autistic students for 14 years.

by Meghan Patel

by Meghan Patel

J. R. Spencer has been working Autistic students for 14 years.

Meghan Patel, Staff writer

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For most teens, high school is an extremely stressful time filled with social anxieties and frantic cramming. The experience for students with self-contained Autism, however, is entirely different.

To them, it becomes a second home because of people like J.R. Spencer.

Spencer is an employee for the child services department at the high school, and unlike most teachers who are devoted to building upon the academic knowledge of students, Spencer works with students who have self-contained Autism. He aims not to teach his students concrete information, but about how to live their daily lives.

Learning how to stock shelves and follow directions are the types of skills Spencer focuses on to get them prepared for life outside of the classroom. School, to his students, are about coping with life, and Spencer is there to help them every step of the way.

Spencer spent his college years majoring in sociology, not entirely sure what career he would pursue. After meeting a friend’s mom who was a one-on-one assistant to those with Autism, Spencer immediately uncovered his newfound passion.

Fourteen years later, Spencer is still working day after day to make a difference in the lives around him.

But in his field of work he faces challenges on a daily basis.

“Like any typical person, their moods often vary,” Spencer said. “Developing a relationship is hard and communication is definitely the biggest obstacle to overcome.”

Facing and meeting these challenges more often than not, Spencer swiftly overcomes them with  patience and understanding knowing the reward is greater than all challenges combined.

“The most important part of what I do is letting them know I care about them,” Spencer said.

Spencer’s enthusiasm, open mind, and caring nature make him an incredible man. Working to profoundly impact the lives around him and doing so with such passion makes J.R. Spencer truly inspiring.

 

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J.R. Spencer influences the lives around him