Holding engaging conversations about work: Services and supports

Services and supports can play an important role in putting a plan for competitive, integrated employment into action. Here, consider tips for specific types of services and supports.

   

Assistive technology and reasonable accommodations

Assistive technology is any device that helps a person interact with his or her environment. Assistive technology can be anything from an inexpensive pencil grip to complex technology used for communication. Many types of assistive technology are available through an occupational therapist. 

To learn more about assistive technology, check out: 

Minnesota's STAR Program | Minnesota Department of Administration

Gillette Lifetime Specialty Healthcare | Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare

 

Disability disclosure

Disclosing a disability means telling an employer or potential employer about a disability. Although the decision to do so — or not — is up to the person with the disability, effective disclosure can help establish a positive working relationship between the employer and the employee. It's often helpful to hold practice disclosure conversations with a close contact, such as a friend or loved one, or a career counselor. 

To learn more about disability disclosure, check out: 

Job supports and accommodations: The basics | Disability Benefits 101

Disclosure decision guide | Virginia Commonwealth University

 

Reasonable accommodation

Reasonable accommodations are changes or adjustments to the hiring process, job functions or work environment that make it possible for a qualified jobseeker or employee with a disability to have equal access to employment and enjoy the same benefits of employment as their peers without disabilities. Although accommodation requests can be made verbally, it's a good idea to document requests in writing in case there's a dispute about whether or when the accommodation was requested.

Some companies provide a standard accommodation request form, typically submitted to the person who's designated as the ADA coordinator. In other cases, the request must be written from scratch.

Either way, a request for reasonable accommodation should include: 

  • A statement to identify the requester as a person with a disability
  • A statement requesting a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (for federal employees) or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights
  • A description of specific job tasks or issues (such as scheduling) that are posing challenges
  • A description of potential accommodations to address the challenges
  • A request for accommodation ideas from the employer
  • Attached medical documentation (if relevant)
  • A request for a meeting with the ADA coordinator (if negotiation about accommodations is expected)
  • A request for a written accommodation decision in a reasonable amount of time

To learn more about reasonable accommodations, check out:

Job supports and accommodations: The basics | Disability Benefits 101

Ideas for writing an accommodation request letter | Job Accommodation Network

 

Safety

Safety is an important consideration, especially when working with a parent whose child has never been alone in a community job without supports.

To establish appropriate safety supports, define what "safe" means. For example, are there concerns about the person walking out an open door? Or being taken advantage of? Once the underlying concerns are defined, supports can be put into place to help mitigate these concerns — such as creating a job where a person is always working alongside a colleague who's aware of the support need.  

 

Transportation

In some cases, transportation can be a barrier to competitive employment. Various transportation options are available, however, including: 

  • Public transit services. This includes trains, buses and other fixed-route services. To consider the options, check out this map of statewide public transit services from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
  • Paratransit services. These are often closely aligned with public transit services, such as Metro Mobility.
  • Private transportation. Transportation can be included in a work plan. Often, the cost of private transportation can be deducted from income when qualifying for cash benefits.
  • Informal networks. Carpooling with neighbors, colleagues or others might be an option in some cases.
  • Transportation networks. In metro areas, transportation networks such as Uber or Lyft might be available for rides to and from work.

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