Parent Focus: Making Work Part of the Plan

Get Everybody Thinking About Work

Expectations are a key. If your child, you, and his or her support network all have work as the goal, everybody will work harder to make it happen.

Explore Options with Your Child

Help your child start thinking about work:

  • DB101’s Finding the Right Job for You article can help your child think about what type of work he or she might like.
  • Help your child find a mentor or role model. This person can help with advice and support that can make work more realistic.
  • Give your child chores. They teach your child skills and to assume responsibility.
  • Get your child involved in the community. Social experiences, summer camps, volunteer projects, community education classes, and internships all teach aspects of what work is like and let your child meet more people who might help with work in the future.
  • Encourage your child to enjoy hobbies. Activities like sewing, cooking, woodworking, or anything else can teach skills, enrich life, create job possibilities, and help develop relationships that may lead to work.
  • Introduce your child to the local America's Job Center of California (AJCC) (One-Stop), also called a One-Stop. It’s a good place to see what types of strategies other people with disabilities use to find and keep work.
Help your child gain self-confidence and build independence skills

It’s hard to teach a child to make decisions and take actions independently. At age 14, your child will not be making every decision, but as your child gets older, graduates high school, and reaches age 18, he or she needs to be ready to handle the broader world. Knowing how to make decisions and take action are key skills for personal and work success. Starting early with small steps will build future success.

Learn more about the child-parent relationship in DB101’s Start Planning Now article.

Make Work a Part of Your Child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If your child is still in middle school or high school, he or she probably has an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Make sure that your child’s IEP team knows that your child’s long-term objective as an adult is work and make it a part of the IEP Transition Plan. For example, the IEP could increase its focus on developing work skills, such as reading with understanding, using technology, and having interest-based work experiences.

Connect with the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)

A counselor from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) can help your child integrate work into his or her IEP transition plan. Usually, this happens when your child is two years away from graduating high school, but if your child is ready to work earlier, a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor can help any time after your child turns 16. DOR also has services for people who are blind or visually impaired, and services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Your child can apply for services at the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) directly or can be referred to DOR by a high school counselor, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), a behavioral health clinic, or an America's Job Center of California (AJCC) (One-Stop). For students ages 16 – 21, DOR's services are called "DOR Student Services."

After high school, your child’s IEP will end, but DOR may still help your child with counseling, training, job skills, and job placement. DOR also has Work Incentives Planners (WIPs) who can help your child understand how work affects benefits.

Learn more about DOR Student Services and DOR's other services for young people.

Make Work Part of Your Child’s Community Service and Support Plan

If your child has a county case manager, make sure the case manager knows work is in your child’s future and discuss what employment supports the county will offer as your child becomes an adult. You can also work with the case manager to develop a vision for your child’s life as an adult, including both work and other aspects of adult life.

After your child gets that first job

It can be scary when your child actually reaches the goal of finding a job. Read DB101’s Working article with your child, so that you can both learn more about how to make a first job successful.

Learn more