Inclusion in early childhood is the beginning of employment and independence as an adult.
The data supporting the positive effect on society and peoples attitudes towards individuals with an intellectual disability is immense, for a full review, resource, and training opportunities please see:
People with intellectual disability who are employed are twice as likely to be independent
People who are employed are more independent, people with ID who live independently are employed in the community setting 33% of the time where as people living with parents are employed 17% of the time and people living in institutions were employed 2%of the time.
The question remain though do people with ID even want employment. 46% of the people who were not employed surveyed wanted a job. However as part of their individual service plan (ISP), which is the plan the federal and state case workers come up with as part of the individuals life plan, work is listed only 13% of the time. That means the people who want to work are rarely being given the opportunity or is it even discussed.
Employing people with an intellectual disability is NOT CHARITY it is good business.
Many employers view this as charity however it has been shown that hiring people with ID does not affect productivity. In fact, safety was better, retention was better and overall there was a better culture across the company. Randy Lewis who is a retired VP of wall green wrote the book “NO Greatness without Goodness” and basically established, with data, that hiring people withID was, in fact, good business.
Employment for People with Intellectual disabilities varies greatly state by state. It depends both on services and employers. Below is a list of resources first nationally then locally for people and employers.
Project Search is the gold standard for youth and the business community. It involves primarily high school students and their final year of transition. It is a national organization we currently have 4 in our state.
On a National Level the ARC has national and state resources on both the employer side and individuals side check out the Arc@Work
Below are links to the most prominent employment vendors in Washington state/puget sound area but is far from complete:
For more info below are links to the local and state ARC as well as the King County site for a more complete inventory.
This is the link for the ARC of Washington
In King county below is the line for King county disabilities services
And for the ARC of king county
Washington is a leader in hiring initiatives and I have listed a few below.
• The Microsoft Hiring Autism hiring Initiative: https://news.microsoft.com/stories/people/kyle-schwaneke.html
• The Microsoft Supported Employment Hiring Initiative: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/procurement/diversity-sep.aspx
• The Amazon Hiring Initiative
• Snohomish County Hiring Initiative: https://snohomishcountywa.gov/3373/Supported-Employment
• City of Seattle: https://wahireability.org/spotlights/city-of-seattle
• King County Supported Employment Initiative: http://www.kingcounty.gov/audience/employees/safety-claims/disability-services/supported-employment.aspx
• Woodinville Fire District
• City of Bothell
Stories: Stories are extremely important and need to be available to employers.
• 'Building and Inclusive Community' https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=_8SiIPvNbrY
• 'An Opportunity for Ordinary': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQqQTb5Ssd8&t=31s
Technical Supports for Employers:
• Washington Initiative for Supported Employment http://gowise.org/
Legislative and Efforts
• Employment First: http://gowise.org/resources/employment-first/general-information/
National Down Syndrome Congress: https://www.ndsccenter.org/ The vision for NDSC is equal rights for all. This site has a lot of information in one place. Their main event each year is the National Down Syndrome Conference, where they have educational and social programs for parents, siblings, and self advocates.
National Down Syndrome Society: http://www.ndss.org/ The mission of the NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. The National Down Syndrome Society envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. There main event each year is the Buddy Walk. Different chapters will hold local Buddy Walks to fundraise for local programs. They also hold a Buddy Walk on Washington yearly were families and self advocates lobby congress about disability policy.
National Down Syndrome Governmental Affairs Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dsadvocates/?ref=bookmarks
This is a place to find legislative advocacy information Global Down Syndrome Foundation: http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/our-story/about-gdsf/ Based in Denver Colorado, GDF is dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy.
The Friendship Circle: http://www.friendshipcircle.org/ Provides assistance and support to the families of children with special needs. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle enriches its vast network of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving. This link is for the headquarters in Michigan, but you may have a local chapter.
Parent to Parent: https://parent2parent.org.nz/ P2P services are usually funded through federal and state dollars. In Washington the Arc is the organization that overseas the programs. Here parents learn from parents.
Sleep Help, an organization that aims to help everyone get a great night’s sleep. We’ve been doing some research on the connection between Down syndrome and sleep quality, and created this resource from our findings: https://www.sleephelp.org/down-syndrome-sleep-apnea/
Parent Education Ideas:
Love and Logic: https://www.loveandlogic.com/classes-and-conferences A practical approach to parenting any child.
Wrightslaw: http://www.wrightslaw.com/ Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. One of the best suggestions given here is to join group that is specific to your child’s disability AND one that your child may not have, this keeps you better informed, perhaps an Autism group.
Academic Education Ideas
Orange County Learning Program: http://dsfoc.org/learning-program This program has been developed specifically for students with Ds.
Kids Included Together: https://www.kit.org/ Lots of resources for inclusion and links to other sources
Handwriting without Tears: A handwriting program that is used by a lot of schools and Occupational Therapists.
Washington State Resources:
Informing Families: http://informingfamilies.org/ is a fantastic webpage that breaks services and suggestions into age brackets.
Arc of Washington State: http://www.arcwa.org/ The Arc’s are very active in Washington, other states and areas may have different organizations that are similar. They provide classes and serve families and individuals with disability through the life span.
Arc of King County: http://www.arcofkingcounty.org/ This is the Arc for the Seattle area.
Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound: http://downsyndromecommunity.org/ Our local area chapter of the NDSS