University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

The Stumpf Family

Father and son walking with arms around each other
"Having Kyle around makes for a happier work environment."

Kyle is 28 years old and lives with his dad, Bill, in Dubuque. He has two older sisters, Kristen and Kara, one niece, and three nephews. Kyle has Down syndrome and intellectual disability, and he experienced a lot of medical complexity in his early life. He was born six weeks early and had surgery when he was six days old. Over the next several months, Kyle was found to have a heart defect, had difficulty breathing, and feeding issues.

It was always his family's goal for Kyle to be included in school from the time he started preschool. High school for Kyle is a segregated setting wasn't bad, just less inclusive that what his family had envisioned for him. "The early years were more successful that junior high and high school," said Bill. "At that point it seemed easier to focus on finishing school and utilizing waiver services to become more independent. Following high school, Kyle worked in a segregated setting at subminimum wage for about five years.

In 2013, while serving on the Iowa Development Disabilities Council, Bill began to learn more about integrated employment and Kyle began using Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation services. During this process Kyle was offered employment from a friend was was managing a local pizza franchise. "With the assistance of supported employment services funded through the Intellectual Disability Wavier and Vocational Rehabilitation, Kyle remains competitively employed," said Bill. Kyle's supervisor, Alicia, says that his presence has positively affected other employees. "He always has this contagious smile on his face," said Alicia. "He makes co-workers want to come to work."

Looking back at the whole process, Bill acknowledges that he was one of the barriers to Kyle's integrated employment. "The sheltered workshop had become comfortable for all of us," said Bill. "Kyle enjoyed what he was doing and I was content that he had a place to go every day." Building on their experience, Bill and Kyle have now become advocates for integrated employment and help others make the transition from sheltered work.

Young man smiling with broom and dust pan at workYoung man smiling
Young man with two sisters on porch swing