Employment options and skill development is one of the core pieces when transition planning is taking place. In recent years, the state has put increasing importance on finding meaningful, competitive employment for youth transition from the high school setting. Employment options include competitive employment where the individual applies for and secures a job through traditional methods; Customized employment where the employing agency enters in to a contract with a specific job site that will meet the needs of the individual with a disability; Community based employment where a job coach supervises several individuals doing the same job. Wages from that job are then shared among those individuals; and Onsite employment where the individual works at an supportive employment agency site that provides Day training and habilitation which includes job training, recreation and therapeutic component.
Students of transition age (14-21) who are receiving special education services or students of transition age that are in the process of assessment for those services must have employment skill development incorporated into their Individual Education Plan. The IEP team gathers information from a variety of sources to guide them in possible employment options. Vocational Rehabilitation counselor and supportive employment agencies should also be a part of that discussion.
Through the IEP assessment process job skills and strengths as well as needs should be identified. If they have not, ask for a job skill inventory assessment. Successful employment, regardless of the option selected will require some modifications. Strategies such as repetitive learning, breaking the task down in to smaller tasks, using a cueing system to assist with memory deficits, frequent breaks to minimize frustrations and to check for understanding and the development of soft skills will help the new employee be successful.
What are soft skills?
Youth with good “soft skills” will be more successful in gaining and keeping a job.
Soft skills is the ability to understand the “unspoken” rules in a work place such as personal boundaries, sense of humor, knowing when to share and what to share with co-workers and the boss.
For an individual with an FASD, reading social cues and understand those unspoken rules can be a challenge. Educating the employer and fellow employees about FASD can help smooth those transitions and make for a successful employment experience.