Growing up as a wheelchair user has provided me with an entirely different perspective on life compared to my friends without disabilities. I view things differently, from the way members of our society interact with one another to adaptations I have to make in order to succeed in a mostly able-bodied world. As an adult, I now have the pleasure of training individuals with disabilities through Search Inc.’s No Boundaries – Train for Work, Train for Life program. The more I work in this role, the more I find myself reflecting on the years it took me to reach independence and how I can help No Boundaries participants do the same. Supporters – that means parents, family, friends, therapists, mentors and more – here are a few things to think about:
1. Stay Organized: A core skill we work on at No Boundaries is self-organization. The use of timers, google calendars and other technology to keep organized is mandatory at work. Don’t let your young adult get away with getting lazy or losing motivation at home! They have the tools. They have the know how. Encourage your young adult to practice what they learn here at home and in the community.
2. Dress Appropriately: At No Boundaries, we teach work skills by making the classroom a real-life business experience. Therefore, proper business casual work attire is a must! Encourage your No Boundaries participant to plan his or her work attire ahead each day.
3. Be On Time: As we explain to our No Boundaries participants, without punctuality, regardless of skill, you will not be able to retain a job. We teach workplace skills every day. Arrive to work early and you are on-time. Arrive to work on-time and you are late. Insist that your young adult maintain a schedule that allows plenty of rest so he or she can get up and get to work on time!
4. Stay Focused: What are the tasks that need to be done? Each No Boundaries participant has a task lists here at work. As a supporter, you can ask them to show you what they are working on. Try to aid them in many of their tasks. Encourage self-initiative and involvement.
5. Be Respectful: Finding a job requires people skills and a great first impression. Practice shaking hands and upbeat greetings all the time. Encourage your young adult to network and talk to people when you are out together.
Remember their independence and their ability to become self-advocates is an ongoing process, which takes place at work, at home and in the community!
Nura is an experienced No Boundaries Trainer who aids individuals with developmental disabilities in bettering themselves as they strive to obtain independence through full-time work.