Transitions and Jobs – How You Can Help

Did you know that if you have a minimum of two paid  jobs in high school you are five times more likely to succeed in the future? I actually had no idea of this statistic until I went to the Yippe Conference. In this blog post I will share with you some of the suggestions as to how parents can help with the transition. I will be explaining how I am working on that transition. I thought this might be helpful to all.

Speak Up, Explore and Experience

Talk to your child about their interests, likes and dislikes. This gives you ideas of some directions that you can go. They say to try new things and get outside your comfort zone. That is very hard for some, but it can be effective. When your looking at different jobs go on tours and job shadow. Job shadowing gives you a peek into what you will be doing, if you will like the position, and it’s your time to ask questions. Another suggestion was to learn how to lead your IEP. You will want to know what your disability is and what accommodations you will need in the workplace. Other ideas are helping out at home. Join in on extra curricular activities at school. If your homeschoolers see what kind of extra curricular activities are in your area, some homeschool groups can direct you to homeschooling sports associations and extra curricular activities. Try volunteering. That was a big topic many times through the conference. It gets you out into the community and working with people. It also looks good on a resume.

What Can Families Do?  

You can expose your child to new things and encourage interests. I will explain later how we are doing this. You can build of those new experiences and interests. Let your child take “supported risks”.  Let them find out how things work and turn out. You can identify and develop transferable skills. This is something we are trying to work on as well. More on this later! Learn how you can transfer what you know now and how you can apply it in the workplace. Connect to people and create a “Relationship Map”.  A relation ship map is ideas of where to make connections and get information. For example you could have it set up as Community Affiliations (people you know in the community who can help with suggestions and support), Skills/Interests (people you may know with similar skills and interests for suggestions and support), Place To Work/Learning (again places of employment and places of learning have people who can give suggestions/support). The thing is to know how you can utilize it. Start identify what are ideal situations and non negotiable. You might have to make compromises. You as a parent can provide support and guidance. You can reinforce skills and work ethic at home. Seek out information about transition. In an upcoming post next week I will share a bunch of links on transition. Don’t worry I got you covered!! You want to advocate in ways systems can’t. You are your childs best advocate. I am working on teaching my son self advocacy as well. That will be a future post also. Set high expectations. This part is hard for me as I think I may set them to high. Don’t let anyone ever tell you something is NOT going to happen. Anything is possible! It’s how hard you work to get there.

Here is an interesting fact that was shared as well. This is for families who have young adults with disabilities. ‘We found that young adults with significant disabilities whose parents definitely expected them to obtain post-school work way back in high school were more than five times as likely to have paid, community employment within two years after exiting… (they meant existing school).  The unexpected finding was that these expectations were a stronger predictor than anything else we examined…’ Carter, Austin, & Trainer 2012

There was a boy who I believe had cerebral palsy, who loved string beads of jewelry together. He helped out in a jewelry shop making beads of necklaces and such, and they ended up loving his creations that they kept him. He has his own little space where he can see people coming in and greet them while he is working. It actually was really neat to watch this video. They took his skills and turned it into something amazing. I am sharing this because you can take your child’s interests and really build off it. I think the possibilities could be endless if we looked outside the box.

Skills Families Help Develop: 

Families can help develop skills in three areas: soft skills, work skills, and self-determination skills. The soft skills are: listening and communications, relating with others and cooperation, problem solving, and judgement. The work skills are: doing chores, helping others, community involvement, and volunteering. The self-determination skills are: reflecting and evaluating, taking initiative and responsibility, making choices, and goal setting and thinking ahead.

Helpful Resources: 

Self-Directed Employment Planning Modules 

Let’s Get to Work Parent Education Videos 

Family Voices of Wisconsin 

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth – Guideposts 

PACER Center’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment 

What Am I Doing? 

Right now I am working with DVR. My son is in a PROMISE program so we started with DVR a little earlier then normal. We set up a meeting and we talked with Dakota about his interests. The interests were giving us ideas as to where we could look for work for a long time goal as well as a short term goal as well. The ideas gave us different suggestions for him to come up with places where he could job shadow. Now he has is mind set at working at the grocery store. I think that is a little, well maybe a lot out of his comfort zone, but that is what he wants to do. The job shadows will give him a wider view on things that are out there and learn more about different jobs.

He had chores that he does help around the house with. He helps me with laundry and switches the laundry around for me and brings it up. He takes out the recyclables. His responsibility is to keep his room clean. He is also helping once a week by picking out a recipe and cooking for the family. He is also learning living skills so that he can succeed on his own as well.

Right now with school I try to include his interests in learning so we can build off them and maybe find work in the future. He loves video editing. Although we haven’t really done much with that. He is really interested in 3D Character Animation and is picking up on that really well. He is going to learn Web Design and see if that is an interest to him. Later on down the road we will build off these computer interests and see if there is anything else. He really doesn’t know what he wants to do after high school and that is ok.

As for college I do not think at this point he will be able to get in for a two year degree. He isn’t up to his piers level. The neuro psych was very clear the other day she didn’t think he would go to college. That really in a way upsets me because your setting limitations that you don’t know. Sure maybe he won’t be in a two year degree program but he can take other classes. There are schools that don’t have all the extra garbage of classes you have to take that you don’t need. So those are things that we can look into as well. The one thing I NEVER say to him is that he CAN’T do something. Anything is possible! Set your mind to it and you can succeed.

I have expectations for him. I want him to be able to function and live on his own. I would love to see him in a job that he is happy with. I will bust my butt, however I can to help him. If it’s job shadowing, more schooling, more talking about interests, whatever it takes I will try my hardest.

My son will be taking a course on Financials with the promise program.  I think it will be a good thing for him. I will find out next week what it all contains. At this point I cannot remember.

We are working on knowing his disability and what he will need to accommodate. The problem he has is he doesn’t want anyone to know about his disability as he doesn’t want to be treated different. He doesn’t like to ask for help when he doesn’t understand something. So that is something that is work in progress. We are learning more about self advocacy as well. It will teach him when he needs to let people know and when he doesn’t.

I hope that the information I shared can help in some way!




8 Responses to “Transitions and Jobs – How You Can Help”

  • 1
    Kym says:

    This was a really interesting read for me, because I’m currently managing a coffee roasting shop two days a week that also employs those with learning disabilities. Our chief roaster has Downs Syndrome and there’s a young man I have working with me one day a week that is on the spectrum and may have other challenges as well. Both are excellent workers, very good at what they do, and take great satisfaction in having a job with real responsibilities that they enjoy doing. (of course, I’ve had to learn how to “manage” them in order to keep them on task sometimes!) I’ve really felt that a big factor in their success has been that their parents have expected big things from them – in a good way – and they’ve been taught a good work ethic, and it’s okay to correct them when it’s needed.

    Best of luck to you and to your son! Tell him to be brave about letting people know when he does need some help – most people (especially the employers or managers) are very understanding and will do their best to help without drawing attention to him. Speaking from experience with those I work with and our wonderful customers. 🙂
    Kym´s last blog post ..The Great Wall of China – Blogging Through the Alphabet

    admin Reply:

    Kym coming from a parent of one with special needs this was really awesome to read your comments. From the conference we have noticed that parents are involved whether it be trying to coach them with problems, talking about issues, talking to the employer before the interview, and so on. I haven’t quite had that experience as we are just working on job shadows right now. It’s great to hear how positive it from an employer as well. I will make sure to tell him what you have said.

  • 2

    interesting read… I’ve been working toward having my lad have a job in highschool… even to have a job now (which he does …raising mice for sale). Just want to keep building upon that. 🙂
    annette @ A net in Time´s last blog post ..Books Read in February

    admin Reply:

    That’s really awesome that he has in own little business of raising mice. I have heard of others do similar things. He gets to learn difference aspects of business. Keep building on it. He is almost there with his paid job experience 🙂

  • 3
    Rheea says:

    I’ve always had a summer job, starting when I was in fourth grade. I would like my daughters to experience that too. Thank you for the reminder, and for the helpful tips. The Relationship Map is something I’ve never heard of until I read it here, and we’ll use it. Thanks!

    And you and your son are amazing!

    admin Reply:

    I never heard of the relationship map until this conference either. It does seem that it would come in handy. Really in all honesty this can apply to people with or with out special needs. All youth go through transition at some point. Thank you Rheea for your nice comments that means a lot.

  • 4
    Ritsumei says:

    This sounds like exciting things in store for your family! I like reading this sort of thing, now, too, because, although my kids are neurotypical, I suspect that a lot of the same things will be important for them – volunteering, job shadowing and work experience are things that are starting to be on my radar, looking ahead to the day when my son is on his own. He thinks that day is far away, but I know better….
    Ritsumei´s last blog post ..Playing in Pastels

    admin Reply:

    Yes you are exactly right! It can apply to a neurotypical child as well. Any time is good enough to start volunteering. I am going to be looking into a couple things over the next couple weeks. I have a lot more to share in the upcoming weeks.

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