Preparing for Work

Entering the work place can be particularly challenging for young adults with disabilities. With planning, preparation, and self-advocacy, individuals can find work that is both meaningful and enjoyable.

Start Early

  • Encourage your child to think about what he or she is interested in doing for a living, and to research those jobs and speak to people in similar fields of work.
  • Identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses and consider how they play into his or her career interests.
  • Put together a resume and consider what might be useful to add before seeking employment.
  • Develop interview skills by role playing with potential questions an employer might ask, and questions to ask potential employers.
  • Identify and practice asking for accommodations your child might need on the job. You may also want to consider supported employment programs for individuals with disabilities.
  • Discuss 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.


Employers are legally required to provide certain accommodations to people with disabilities. If you anticipate a few difficulties once on the job, you can be prepared with practical solutions. Common issues and possible solutions include:

  • DISTRACTIONS: Wear headphones or request a work space away from busy, noisy areas.
  • CONCENTRATION: Break tasks down into small parts, or consider requesting that tasks be assigned one at a time. 
  • STAMINA: Take all allowed rest breaks. Consider working part time.
  • 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.
  • INTERACTING WITH OTHERS: Find a buddy or a mentor for support with challenges.
  • EVALUATIONS: Ask the supervisor to clearly identify both strengths and areas for growth. Request private time to absorb the evaluation.


  • Find or continue counseling and/or therapy, which is an appropriate setting to discuss job-related issues or anxieties.
  • Engage in social and recreational activities in the community to find support and relief from the stress of work.
  • Try to stay focused on the benefits of employment: financial security, independence, and fulfillment.
Working and Adult Life, Support for employment
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