Special Needs Student Celebrates Getting His First Job


Ben Sunderman’s dad filmed his son’s elation upon learning that he’d landed his first job. Now the teen with Down syndrome is a star online, thanks to his exuberant viral video. (Photo: ABC)

Who can’t relate to the joy of finally, thankfully landing that dream job? Nearly 150,000 people have clicked in to share the thrill of that moment with Ben Sunderman, filmed by his dad as he opens the letter confirming that he scored his first job. It’s an accomplishment of special importance because the McKinney, Tex., 19-year-old has Down syndrome. 

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“I get it!” Ben shouts in triumph in the footage, posted on Facebook by his proud father on April 11. “I [got] a job!”

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The viral post has brought in a slew of well wishing for the teen, Dad Scott Sunderman revealed on Facebook on Saturday. The family has been “overwhelmed by your kind and encouraging comments for Ben,” he writes. 

Joining the workforce is a big deal for anyone, but it’s an especially significant milestone for kids with special needs. “We know that the combination of supportive families, dedicated special education professionals, and individual determination like Ben’s have the power to transform lives,” James P. Heiden, president of the Council for Exceptional Children, tells Yahoo Parenting. 

But no one is more pumped for Ben that he landed his gig — starting in August at the Embassy Suites hotel in Frisco, Texas — than Ben. 

His mother Sharon Sunderman told ABC News that her son had told his interviewers that he had three goals: “to get a job, to build his muscles and to find a girlfriend.” 

Dad Scott has no doubts his son will accomplish the rest of his goals. He writes, “I will certainly let you know when Ben finds that girlfriend!” 

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