Topic 4.2 Community

Preparing for Work: Community

Encourage inclusion as much as possible and participation in extracurricular activities.

  • Local, integrated school & community classes: dance, sports, martial arts & Unified Sports (part of Special Olympics).
  • School teams and activities.
    Consider for IEP as part of son or daughter’s school program.
  • Recreation programs, such as Friends’ Club and Best Buddies
  • Girl and Boy Scouts and other clubs
  • Faith-based groups

Another important way to prepare for work is for young people to get involved in their communities to build relationships and social skills—some of the most important criteria for work.

You will want to give your child as many inclusive, integrated experiences at school and in the community as possible because the social skills and independence they learn will be important as they start looking for employment. You also want them to be included with the “typical” population as much as possible because studies show that inclusion benefits everyone.

You also want to share the vision with those other students that people with disabilities are valuable members of their community with skills and talents they can contribute … because someday those other students will be the co-workers and employers that will be working alongside your son or daughter.

Local community classes, such as dance, sports teams, and martial arts classes.

Give your son or daughter the opportunity to participate in inclusive community activities that interest them. Take a local karate or dance class and just assume they belong because they do! These activities and classes give them opportunities to build relationships with adults and peers who can see their talents and skills, and add supports as needed.

A girls golf team poses together
School teams and activities. Consider for IEP as part of son or daughter’s school program.

Your son or daughter can also participate in school teams or activities. They can participate in chorus, the yearbook staff, the Spanish club, or the wrestling team just like anyone else. You can even include these school activities as part of their IEP or transition plan. For example, if they want to become an artist, you can include joining art club as part of the transition plan. This means they will also meet more students studying art who may become coworkers someday.

Recreation programs, such as Friends’ Club at some schools, Best Buddies, and Unified Sports (part of Special Olympics).

Your son or daughter may also benefit from recreation programs that give extra support to people with disabilities to help learn social skills, like Best Buddies, Friends’ Clubs, and Unified Sports.

Girl and Boy Scouts and other clubs

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are another way to learn valuable life skills like cooking, finances, and family among peers as they work together to earn badges.

Faith-based groups (churches, synagogues, church youth groups, etc.)

Churches and religious organizations provide tremendous opportunities for your son or daughter to become involved with his or her peers, especially on church projects, activities, and often community service learning activities, in which students are learning potential employment-related skills and to give back to their communities. There is also the opportunity to learn important social interaction and soft skills, to make new friends and have fun!