LIGHTING THE WAY

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HELPING FAMILIES SEE POSSIBILITIES IN COMPETITIVE EMPLOYMENT- A WORKSHOP FOR SOCIAL WORKERS AND VOCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS.

Families play a crucial role in the lives of youth and individuals with significant disabilities. They are often the first and most consistent influence a person with a disability will have. Families are responsible for supporting decisions and coordinating services and support, all while trying to cultivate and honor what youth want for themselves.

For many families, their youth’s transition to adulthood is an uncertain time. Where will they work? Where will they live? Will they have friends and be able to do things they enjoy? Families of youth with significant barriers to employment may not be able to envision employment in the community for their sons and daughters. They may get messages from professionals that sheltered work or day programs are the safest and only option. When this happens, you have families resistant to exploring competitive employment.

Many employment providers will cite families as a main barrier to employment success for people with disabilities. However, instead of vilifying families, it is more constructive to examine why families do what they do and come up with ways to establish relationships so employment can be an option. This session is intended to serve as an introduction to the topic of building partnerships with families.

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