"My son has been labeled "unemployable" by those around him due to his intellectual disability, but I feel it is important for him to have a job to increase his inclusion in our community. Are there any other options available for him beyond traditional employment?"
Customized employment is an approach to assist individuals with disabilities, particularly those with more significant disabilities, become competitively employed. This Knowledge-to-Action Guide will provide you with an introduction to customized employment and allow you to make an informed decision about employment opportunities for your child.
Customized employment is an alternative to traditional employment that assists individuals with significant disabilities become competitively employed in jobs that suit their strengths and interests.
“Customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both parties” (Federal Register, 2002).
The process begins by identifying the strengths, needs and interests of the individual with the disability. The employment service support personnel along with the individual then approach the employer with an employment proposal and negotiate the employment arrangement.
Customized employment my include employment “developed through job carving, self-employment, or entrepreneurial initiatives or other job restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated” (Federal Register, 2002).
The process assumes reasonable accommodations and supports are put in place to support the individual complete job tasks.
Employers’ attitudes toward employees with disabilities have become more favorable over the years. Encouraging employers to hire individuals with disabilities takes negotiation skills and a comprehensive employment proposal.
Students with more significant disabilities can learn to self-monitor and self-regulate their own behavior to assist with employment.
Successful employment requires flexible, responsive, on-going support provided by employment service organizations and agencies.