What to Look for in a Work Training Program for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
Employment for adults with developmental disabilities provides many benefits for them, as well as for the businesses where they work. Meaningful work helps them learn skills for independence, enhances feelings of confidence and self-worth, and includes them as part of the larger community. An excellent work training program for adults with developmental disabilities provides comprehensive training for these employment skills.
Many adults with developmental disabilities need help with soft skills before they can be seriously considered for a job. Some of these skills include:
- Communication – Learning how to communicate clearly with co-workers, managers, and customers is essential to succeed in any workplace.
- Conflict Management/Resolution – Conflict is part of everyday life, and no one will escape it at a place of employment, so teaching adults with developmental disabilities how to prevent unnecessary conflict, how to resolve it when it occurs, and coping skills is essential for a good work training program.
- Problem Solving – Even with the simplest of jobs, situations arise that may be challenging or unfamiliar to an individual with developmental disabilities. A good work training program provides coaching both for the individual, and the staff at the workplace where that person will be working.
- Professionalism – Every individual in any workplace needs to have some basic skills for maintaining a professional demeanor, whether they have a disability or not. These skills might involve personal hygiene self-care, professional dress, speech, and behavior.
Employment Skills Training
These are task or industry-specific skills that must be mastered before they can begin the job search process. Some of the types of jobs they might be trained for might include:
- Food service/Dishwashing
- Custodial work
- Picking and packing
- Stocking shelves
- Retail/Customer service
- Office skills – Copying, faxing, filing, etc.
- Data entry/Office work
- Bagging groceries, gathering shopping carts
Job Seeking Skills
The first part of helping an adult with developmental disabilities gain meaningful employment is to figure out what type of job that they would like to have that they can perform. This may involve work assessments, skills tests, and communication with a trusted teacher or mentor. Other skills in this area include:
- Filling out job applications
- Interviewing skills
- Following directions
- Knowing how and when to ask for help
Work-Site Job Coaching
Once an adult with developmental disabilities gets a job, they may need some additional task-specific help and training before they can be completely independent. These coaches work with the hiring company and the individual to learn the basics of the job in a low-stress way. The coach answers questions, models work tasks, helps them with interactions with the customers, co-workers, and managers to help build that individual’s confidence. Then that coach checks in with the worker and the worker’s manager periodically to get progress reports.
Durable Medical Equipment (DME) for Your Work Training Program?
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