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Preparing for Work

October 20, 2021
Adult Life, Work

Start Early

Preparing for work can begin well before a young person is ready to research and apply for jobs. Here are some ways to get started.

  • Brainstorm the types of careers or jobs that sound interesting or exciting. 
  • Research jobs of interest and speak to people in similar fields of work.
  • Identify strengths and areas of improvement, considering how this information impacts career interests.
  • Create a resume and consider what might be useful to highlight before seeking employment (for example: volunteer experiences, skills, etc.).
  • Engage in mock-interviews to practice answering and asking interview questions and to gain confidence with interviewing. Refer to INCLUDEnyc tipsheet on how to prepare for an interview here.
  • Identify and practice asking for accommodations that might be needed on the job. The Job Accommodation Network offers a host of workplace accommodations for reference. 
  • Research employment programs that provide individuals with disabilities coaching and individualized career support. 
  • Learn about the importance of self-presentation, including hygiene, dress code, punctuality, and appropriate behavior.

Seek out internships and volunteer opportunities in school and in your community. Refer to INCLUDEnyc tipsheet for employment opportunities.


Most employers are legally required to provide certain accommodations to qualified people with disabilities. If a young person anticipates that they may need support once on the job, they should be prepared with practical solutions. Common support requests and possible solutions include:

  • Support with minimizing distractions: Use of noise-cancelling headphones or requesting a work space away from busy, noisy areas.
  • Support with concentration: Break tasks down into small parts or request that tasks be assigned one at a time. 
  • Support with stamina: Request additional rest breaks. 
  • Support with multitasking and time-management: Meet regularly with a supervisor to prioritize assignments. Keep a daily to-do list, agenda book, or online calendar to help stay on task.
  • Support with social interactions: Request a point person or a mentor to assist with challenges or questions that arise on the job.
  • Support with receiving supervisor feedback/work evaluations: Ask for feedback to clearly identify both strengths and areas for growth. Request personal time to review and process the feedback received.

For more information about how to receive or request accommodations at work, please visit this website.  


Preparing for employment also includes young people identifying ways to maintain healthy work-life balances. This can include identifying supports available and implementing strategies to ensure that space is created to have fun too. Here are some tips to ensure that young people consider what support looks like for them: 

  • Once employed, a young person may choose to share information about their disability, especially in the event they are requesting accommodations at work. They should know their rights including to whom they should disclose and what they disclose.
  • Identify support people (family, a close friend, or a mentor) to speak with if work related concerns arise. 
  • Consider seeking counseling and/or therapy, which can be a helpful way to discuss job-related issues or anxieties.
  • Practice self-care by making sure to engage in meaningful activities outside of work. This could include:
    • Spending time with friends or family.
    • Participating in social and recreational activities in the community. 
    • Creating personal space to allow for a healthy work-life balance.
  • Stay focused on the benefits of employment, including financial security, independence, and fulfillment.