LDA FACT SHEET
Transitioning from college to work, like transitioning through
secondary education, is a process. Students must begin this process
early and transfer their knowledge of the disability into the world
of employment. Students should consider the following:
- What is the impact of the LD on job performance?
- How or when does one disclose a disability?
- What are typical accommodations made in the workforce?
- What kinds of social demands and interactions are needed?
Students must recognize the disability's impact on both educational
and career choices. An important variable in relation to job satisfaction
is a clear understanding of one's disability. Knowledge of one's
disability and how it affects work are critical to satisfying employment.
In addition to clearly understanding their disability, students
need to identify their goals. They must analyze vocational goals
in relation to their disability. What kind of tasks will the job
entail? What will be the interaction between the job tasks and the
disability? When answering these questions, the individual should
evaluate the work environment, the type and amount of colleague
interaction, specific tasks one must perform, and how one is evaluated.
AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL
Choosing a Major/Career
Choosing a major, and the career that ensues, is a difficult and
anxiety provoking task for most students. Students can seek help
with this process by doing the following:
- Read the catalog and course descriptions carefully.
- Work with your academic adviser and discuss the requirements
for different majors.
- Make an appointment with faculty members in the departments
that interest you. Learn what kinds of jobs people who have graduated
from these programs have gotten.
- Investigate whether your school has any job shadowing or mentoring
- Consider doing an internship.
- Meet with the disability service provider and discuss how your
disability might be an issue in the work setting.
Students strengthen the likelihood for successful, satisfying employment
by developing their basic skills and learning strategies. It is
important for students to take advantage of reading and writing
laboratories, and any other academic resources to enhance skills.
One of the most important areas to develop is an understanding of
available technologies. Many facets of the employment world rely
on technology. The new technologies also offer many advances that
can be useful accommodations for some individuals.
The Laws that Govern Employment
It is important for students to learn about the laws that recognize
their rights to equal access and non-discrimination. They should
clearly understand the aspects of the Americans With Disabilities
Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, which
assure equal access and non-discrimination. It is not enough to
merely know one's legal rights. Students must recognize how equal
access applies to them individually, within that particular setting,
and in relation to the disability. They need to ask themselves the
- Is it necessary for me to disclose my disability in order to
perform more efficiently
- To whom do I disclose?
- How do I disclose?
- When do I disclose?
- How do I negotiate accommodations?
- Being able to articulate the effect of the disability in relation
to the work environment is central to successful employment.
STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYMENT:
Develop a History of Work Experience
Look for opportunities to gain work experience. Some examples include:
- Campus leadership opportunities, i.e. student government, mentoring
programs, organization involvement, etc.
- Work study positions on campus
- Off-campus jobs that may be listed in the college career center
- Summer jobs
- Talk to family and friends about job opportunities
Understand the Job Culture
Every company or organization has its own unique culture. The culture
consists of company rules, values, and beliefs, which are widely
held but often unspoken.
- Observe your co-workers
- Know what is expected of you
- Watch how others communicate and interact
Match job tasks with individual strengths and weaknesses to identify
specific accommodations that will enhance job performance. Accommodations
that may be used in the workplace include:
- Tape recorders
- Taped materials
- Written instructions
- Demonstration of tasks/assignments
- Diagrams to explain an assignment
- Extended time on projects
- Separate work space
- Spelling and grammar check software for computers
- A word processor
- Color coding of files
- Talking computers or spell checkers
Identify and tap into your support system
Family, loved ones, friends and co-workers can be a critical variable
to successful employment.
- Devise an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)
Clients of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR –
in some states called Rehabilitative Services Administration,
or RSA) can work with counselors to design an individualized plan
regarding employment, assessments, and services related to employment.
Develop job skills
- Job shadowing
- Seek assistance from the following: