The Arc of the United States reports that there is an 85% unemployment rate for people with intellectual disabilities. This is shocking.
It is important that we think about the future of our children when they are young. Will our kids have the skills to work?
We need to take a hard look at this question. Independence and social and work skills are needed so that individuals may find employment. Parents can start working on these skills as early as possible.
Are we teaching our child to eat by himself or dress by himself? Is your child doing chores around the house? These are some of the things that parents can start implementing as early as possible.
As the children grow, we need to explore their interests. What are they good at? What do they enjoy doing? How might some of these interests turn into employment?
A child might say that they want to be a doctor, but may not have the ability to do so. Why is he interested in becoming a doctor? It might be the uniform or the fact that they help others. We can explore other careers that are similar and start there, working in a doctor’s office or in a hospital. They would enjoy the satisfaction of helping others and maybe even wear scrubs if this is what interests them.
Many individuals with disabilities are afraid to work because they might lose their social security benefits. This is not true, and there are many programs that are designed to incentivize people to work such as Ticket to Work.
People with disabilities have the right to be productive members of society, just like everybody else. There are many programs that will assist people with disabilities to find employment. The Texas Workforce Commission is the best place to start.
We need to talk to employers and inform them about the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities because there are many advantages. As a nation, we all have a responsibility to lower the 85% unemployment rate for people with intellectual disabilities.
Let’s start with you, how can you help?
Explore the careers section of this website for more information.
I realize that while I may be an educated parent, I can always learn something new to help my son and other families navigate the world of disabilities. I have learned so much in an online course called "Partners in Policymaking."
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