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.
- 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.