We Got Them to Graduation! Now What?

The career opportunities available for young adults with intellectual disabilities are growing along with graduation rates across the country.

Your child is graduating from high school. Congratulations! This is a major milestone for any parent, especially when some education programs are not as inclusive and nurturing as others. Statistics are changing, however, as more young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are meeting this milestone: a record 62% of those with disabilities now graduate high school. That number is up to 83% in Arkansas!

Whether your child is interested in furthering their education or starting a career, there are more opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities than ever before.

Continuing Education

If you think your child could benefit from continuing their education or if they have a particular interest in learning new skills, they might want to consider going to college or a vocational school. Pursuing a higher education can help your child prepare for certain types of careers. In some cases, great opportunities can be found in professional positions that may actually be well suited for your child’s disability. You can check out ThinkCollege.net to discover a variety of options.

Other resources to consider are colleges that offer occupational and life skills training. Some of these colleges offer a degree program, while others offer a non-degree program strictly meant to continue your child’s education in a number of areas. For example, opportunities can be found through institutions like The Launch Program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Partners for Inclusive Communities in Little Rock, and the ACAP Program at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado.

Careers for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Depending on your child’s unique skills, there are many career paths available for young adults with intellectual disabilities. Some require that they attend college, but if they are excited about a particular career path, there are many companies with their own internal training programs.

Vocational Counselor

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities often do well as vocational counselors because they understand the challenges other jobseekers with disabilities face when looking for a career. They are often able to guide others through the job seeking process because they, themselves, had to learn their way through the system.

Retail Sales

If your child is particularly sociable and outgoing, they may do well in retail. Depending on the job training, they may enjoy more routine jobs such as stocking shelves and refilling containers, organizing merchandise and displays, greeting customers, and even filling orders.

Technology Jobs

Individuals with a high-functioning intellectual disability like Asperger’s syndrome or other autism spectrum disorders may not do well with a lot of people, but they may shine when it comes to software engineering, computer programming, business accounting, and computer repair.

Office Administration

Some people with intellectual disabilities may do exceedingly well in a clerical environment. With training and direction, they may enjoy tasks such as data entry, filing, copying, scanning, and mail delivery.

The future is very bright for those with intellectual disabilities as more employers look to hire people with their unique needs and skills. If your child has graduated high school or is graduating soon, chances are they have a very promising career path ahead of them.

If you’re looking for information regarding supported employment services for people with disabilities, contact Integrity, Inc. at 501-406-0442 to speak with one of our staff members about how we can help you and your loved one.

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