For teenagers with disabilities, the world of work presents an exciting, yet scary opportunity for them. Having been segregated from other classmates and placed in special education classrooms, Whemeyer and Palmer (2003) note that these students often feel isolated and less-then their able bodied peers. As a career counselor for teens with disabilities, I have seen so many issues come up when attempting to transition a teenager with disabilities into the world of work. People with disabilities have dreams and goals just like everyone else, however, they need extra assistance in many areas to help achieve them. Many employment service agencies, such as my employer, The Marriott Foundation Bridges Program, offer resume writing and interview skills training and then puts the student directly into a job. While many students are successful in their jobs, our goal of helping all students with disabilities find success would increase if more attention was paid to the self esteem issues that inevitably come up. While a lot of attention is paid to the pre-employment training, there is not enough attention paid to the on-the-job support. I propose a group where students with disabilities have an opportunity to meet others in the same situation as themselves, discuss issues/concerns they have with working, share success stories, and learn about the long term benefits of stable employment. Many adults with disabilities are left to rely on Social Security benefits to survive because they were not given the proper support and services when they were young in their transition into the workforce.
Type of Membership
Because there are always new students seeking employment upon graduation, this group will be open. I will be relying on the student’s teachers and parents to help encourage these students to attend our group. Students may be reluctant at first, so it’s important to garner support from other areas of their life.
The following are the goals for this group: Learn about our abilities (as opposed to disabilities) and how we can trust and rely on those attributes, find ways to resolve issues/problems/concerns that come up at work, learn how to express frustration, anger, resentment about how your disability affects your job and interferes with your everyday functioning, establish a support system in which we can learn from others experiences, create goals and plans for our future in the world of work
Role of Leader
My role as leader of this group will be one of an encourager, supporter, and role model. I will need to be empathetic and understanding of the group members concerns and issues, an enforcer of structured and defined sessions, but yet flexible and willing to change course if the group needs to in order to achieve our goals. I will be committed to and have a strong belief in the goals and purpose of this group.
Transcultural Theoretical Underpinnings