Among teaching strategies for developmental delay, one of the best ways to empower adults with intellectual disabilities, autism and other special needs is to help them develop employment skills. Not only will this provide them with an independent source of income, but it will also boost their confidence, provide opportunities to meet people, and generally allow them to feel like productive and engaged members of society.
Job training for special needs students
Many of the skills needed to be successful in the workplace are those that are essential in daily life more generally, and they will be covered in other programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. They will, however, need to be applied in different ways, which may take practice. This includes basic literacy and numeracy, organization and time management, problem solving, communication, self-regulation and social skills. More specific training may include workplace professionalism, health and safety, or job-specific technology.
Before someone can train for a job, they need to identify the type of employment they are seeking and the skills that will be necessary for success. Career planning and resume building is an important part of this process, on top of the more direct practical skills. Skills coaches who understand teaching strategies for developmental delay can provide guidance, set realistic goals and monitor progress. Training may be on a part-time or full-time basis, with part-time running three days a week from September to June. The hours are 9am to 5pm, like many actual jobs, but there is still time for students to develop other areas of their lives.
Work experience for students with special needs
No amount of classroom-based learning can teach everything someone needs to know in the workplace. Once students know what to expect and have some basic mastery of the skills involved, hands-on experience in a realistic environment is the logical next step. This could be an internal placement at Brighton Launch or an external placement through partnerships with local businesses.
Internal placements take place in the BLC production center, where students can be involved in every stage of manufacturing bath products, packaging them and offering them up for sale. This allows them to receive a high degree of support throughout the process. External placements take place with a range of different employers, including hotels, restaurants and retail environments. In addition to learning how to operate in a workplace environment with customers and fellow staff members, this gives students the opportunity to practice community living, such as using public transportation or being safe in public. External partners all have the necessary training and expertise to provide support and accommodations for student employees, so the placement should still function as a safe way to practice workplace skills without the challenges of doing it alone.
Providing work experience and job training for special needs students is an invaluable way to help adults with disabilities find employment, as long as it is structured to best meet their individual needs. By giving them opportunities to use their strengths, practice their skills and work on the areas they find challenging, they will be better able to seek out job opportunities that suit their unique circumstances.