An Interview with Transition to Life Graduate David Francis

Congratulations to David Francis, a Transition to Life graduate from Barrie’s 2015 class!  David has been hired into full time position with CIBC’s governance department at the head office in Toronto!

During Transition to Life David participated in a workshop with Specialisterne and was selected as a candidate for the training program. David’s background includes a degree in Religious Studies and a Certificate in HR Management as well as real-world work experience.

David sat down with Pat O’Connor from Integrated Autism Consulting to discuss his new position at CIBC, his young family and his advice for young adults with ASD on transitioning to adulthood.

 Can you tell us about your new position at CIBC?

I’m working in the governance department as a Measurement Specialist which means that I’m tracking and reporting on projects in the information technology department. I research on how projects are doing and measure their outcomes.

Before I started all new recruits and staff went through a training program. I also had a job coach at first. Now I have a few accommodations in place such as use of the same desk when I am at the office.

How are you managing the commute to Toronto? What time do you have to get up in the morning?

I get up at 4:30am to arrive in Toronto on time for work but I do get to work from home two days a week, typically Wednesday and Friday. Working from home was discussed with my manager when I started the position and it has been implemented for a while now. Being able to do this has been helpful since I can be home for my son earlier on those days.

I understand that you’ve been working at CIBC for 3 months now. Have you completed your probationary period?

Yes, I am now employed full time with benefits and a salary.

How would you compare your current job to your past positions?

In the past I had jobs that were part time, with inconsistent hours and some involved travel around the province. My new position has improved the quality of life for my family.

Tell us about your team at work? Are there any other individuals working with you who are on the Spectrum?

I have four members on my team, including my manager. The program I’m in did employ eight individuals with ASD but they are located in different departments.

Do you find it difficult to navigate the social situations in the workplace?

Not really because I have a good boss that I can talk to about different situations and she’s open about it. For example, I would go to her if I’m unfamiliar about a certain protocol or to ask about and de-brief on an incident that has occurred. My boss has been really great about taking time to communicate clearly with me.

How has taking the Transition to Life course affected your recent experiences?

The connection made during the Transition to Life program to Specialisterne has been a God sent. I have been working with placement agencies for years that went nowhere. The course was a good basis for understanding Asperger’s Syndrome and I also appreciated the book Pat recommended [Made for a Good Purpose] which helped increase my knowledge of Asperger’s. The weekly individual coaching with Pat helped me a lot.

What would be your recommendation for young adults involved in the transition to adulthood?

I would suggest getting involved in your community and volunteer. Get to know yourself and others. Also, get outside of your comfort zone and your bubble. Expand your circle. I think at university I got exposed to different situations and got to appreciate diversity in the world. It’s important to understand that there are many ways of looking at things and ways of thinking.

I think you need to be moderate and learn to discipline yourself when it comes to the use of technology. I do like to play video games but I don’t do it all the time. The world is tough and you can use it to tranquilize yourself but you have to learn what’s important, keep the bigger picture in mind and keep your priorities straight. 


David and his lovely wife Marie live in Barrie, Ontario with their beautiful two year old son, David Jr. In his off hours he enjoys reading, creative writing, swimming and teaching and playing with his son. 


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