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Work has a central role in most people's lives including people with disabilities.
Work provides not only financial gains, but also social contacts and supports needed to have healthy life. It also brings a sense of belonging and gives opportunity to act as an active citizen. However, for people with disabilities, rates of employment are low.
Why is employment important for people with disabilities?
• Fundamental part of adult life
• Contributes to economic self-sufficiency
• Respect for oneself
• Social interaction with other people
• Sense of belonging
Various types of employment services are provided for people with disabilities through transition services in the public school, Regional Center, and the Department of Rehabilitation. Parents need to actively participate in the IEP and ITP meetings before their child leaves high school to make a linkage from school to adult employment service programs.
Employment Service Options for people with disabilities
• Competitive Employment
• Supported Employment
o Real work in an integrated setting
o Job coaches are provided
o Transportation assistance
o Assistive technology
o Specialized job training
o Individually tailored supervision
• Sheltered Workshop
o To provide opportunities for increased independence and self-sufficiency
o Funded by state and local agencies
o Segregated from people without disabilities to perform basic, unskilled labor such as packaging, distributing, etc. o Paid less than minimum wage
• Day Program
o Job training or job matching based on an individual’s abilities.
o Teaching pre-occupational skills
o Teaching independent living skills, self-determination, social skills, and recreation
People with disabilities need to take the appropriate steps in planning for the future from an early age to have a better/good quality of life: actively participating in ITP meeting, experiencing various community activities, ……
People with disabilities and their parents are concerned that earnings will jeopardize the social security incomes without specific information on their case. Social Security Administration provides various work incentive programs, allowing people with disabilities keep their SSI while they make earnings. Contact SSA for more information.