The Benefits of Work

Work experience as a teenager or young adult can help your child:

  • Build confidence by earning money and participating in the community
  • Develop job skills at an age when employers are more understanding
  • Learn more about work and explore interests
  • Create relationships, friendships, and a personal network
  • Build independence and life skills
  • Earn more money, and
  • Shape a successful adult career.

Over the long term, public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are not enough money to live on. That’s why it’s so important that you make work an expectation and a reality for your child.

Parental Support Matters

Young people with disabilities whose parents expect them to get a job are far more likely to get early work experience. And young people who get early work experience are far more likely to have jobs as adults.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Set an expectation of work early on. This can include giving your child chores around your home and helping your child get little jobs from neighbors and friends.
  • Be enthusiastic about work. Young people with disabilities are often excited about working. Share their enthusiasm!
  • Support your child’s efforts to find work now. Working while still in high school or in college is one of the best ways to prepare for work as an adult. A job doesn't have to mean working a lot of hours; what matters is that your child learns what a job is all about.

Most young people with disabilities want to work and dream of finding a job. Sometimes parents think it’s impossible, but it’s not: When parents believe in that dream and expect their children to work, it makes a big difference.

Learn why the myths that say people with disabilities can’t work are not true.