Jobs For Young Adults With Special Needs
We’ve had a lot of parents talk to us with concerns about pre-vocational and vocational skills, and whether their family members will be able to seek competitive employment.
At Cutting Edge, we incorporate many of these activities with clients at the appropriate age and stage. We treat patients up until young adulthood, so those activities are very appropriate for someone approaching young adulthood.
We’ve been able to have our clients learn, in treatment, several different types of activities such as homemaking skills, home safety skills, clerical duties such as shredding paper and filing; we have some clients that create an Excel spreadsheet and learn how to use it.
The great thing about our therapists here is that they are able to modify the treatment for whatever roles the individual has. We won’t be doing pre-vocational training with a seven-year-old, but a seven-year-old may have the same issues and needs as an 18-year-old, but it’s appropriate for an 18-year-old to be working on pre-vocational training.
There are several levels of employment. We’re not only talking about competitive employment at a full-time job. There are several stair steps we go through.
We also do outings in the community in which our clients can work on acting appropriately in the community, which includes a lot of social skills. So depending on what issues the client is struggling with, we take that issue and adapt it to their roles.
Here are some of the places our clients have been able to go and actually practice employment skills:
1. Hugs Cafe
One place we go to practice job skills is Hugs Cafe. Hugs Cafe is up in McKinney, and they have an amazing program for adults with disabilities to work at running a sandwich shop on The Square in McKinney. This is a place where clients can go and learn a food service model of employment.
2. My Possibilities
Michael and Charmaine have set up a kitchen and do catering. They offer My Possibilities University where young adults can learn to go out into the community and perform cooking and hostess skills.
A program for some of our higher-functioning Aspergers clients is a program called nonPareil. NonPareil has a program in Plano, and they’ve just opened one in Houston as well. At Nonpareil they create games, apps, and webcomics. They’re really hoping to create the next Angry Birds, which would then help fund this program for more people! They teach social skills, teamwork, and computer skills. That’s not to say that once you go to nonPareil you end up being a programmer, but you do learn some of those skills. It’s a great program!
Another program with a strong vocational community focus is Heroes. This is a program run by Josh Schilling. They do vocational-focused summer camps based on ability. They put students in groups by ability and age, and go out into the community. They also do a lot of weekend respite programs where they go out and do grocery shopping and cook meals! So it’s a great time of fellowship, socialization, and learning.
If you have any questions about how we approach vocational skills or questions about anything else, feel free to come by, give us a call, or email us!